A deputy district attorney in Denver was fired last summer after lingering COVID symptoms caused his work to lag and cost a crime victim her restitution payment.
Deputy DA Jonathan Healy was fired June 17, according to attorney discipline records released this week. A spokeswoman at the District Attorney’s Office confirmed that.
On Monday, Judge Bryon Large, who presides over disciplinary cases against lawyers in this state, publicly censured Healy, who now lives in New Jersey and doesn’t practice law. Reached by email Wednesday, Healy declined to comment on last year’s termination.
Public records in his disciplinary case show that Healy joined the Denver DA’s Office in late 2021 as a deputy district attorney. Soon after joining, he was assigned a misdemeanor case involving a woman who had hit a cyclist with her car while driving in the city.
A plea agreement had already been reached in the case when Healy took it over. In early 2022, the defendant pleaded guilty to careless driving and agreed to pay restitution. Healy then had 91 days to determine what the restitution amount should be and file a motion requesting it.
Despite insistent phone calls and emails from the victim’s personal attorney to file the restitution order, Healy never did in those first three months of 2022. He initially planned to ask the judge in the case for an extension but didn’t do that either. The 91-day deadline passed.
In May of last year, Healy spoke to the victim’s lawyer, noted the deadline had passed and apologized for his oversight. The next month, he was fired, “in part due to his conduct surrounding his handling” of the cyclist case, according to an April 26 agreement between Healy and the Colorado Office of Attorney Regulation Counsel, which investigates lawyers.
Healy’s “conduct caused actual harm to the victim in the underlying criminal matter,” their agreement states. “Had he timely sought restitution, the victim could have recovered losses and damages, which was specifically contemplated as part of the plea” agreement.
Healy’s COVID diagnosis in February 2022 kept him away from work for 10 days and left him with lingering fatigue and mental fog after he returned. That in turn led to anxiety.
“At the time of these events, (Healy) was dealing with mental and physical health issues he faced while working as a deputy district attorney, as well as his inability in connection with those issues to manage the volume of cases assigned to him,” the agreement states.
In seeking a public censure rather than a suspension of Healy’s law license, the Office of Attorney Regulation Counsel noted that Healy has shown remorse by saying he feels “horrible” that the victim couldn’t collect restitution, and that he was an inexperienced lawyer.
Healy passed the Colorado bar at the end of 2017, state records show. His Colorado law license is now listed as inactive and he is not licensed to practice law in New Jersey.