A week after being charged with attempting to patronize a prostitute, a former Clark County deputy prosecuting attorney quietly resolved the case Thursday before a judge.
Jeffrey W. Holmes, 31, of Vancouver entered into a diversion agreement for the misdemeanor, which will require him to undergo counseling, perform 24 hours of community service and pay a $350 fine.
If Holmes abides by these conditions and is crime-free for one year, the charge will be dismissed.
Prior to his resignation in June, Holmes served with the Clark County Prosecutor’s Office for nearly six years, prosecuting felony domestic violence cases.
An investigation into his personal life, however, revealed he had a history of patronizing prostitutes. Holmes was charged last week in Skamania County, where the case had been considered due to a conflict of interest in Clark County.
He was scheduled to be arraigned Thursday. Before that could happen, however, Holmes contacted Skamania County’s prosecutor and said he wanted to resolve the case swiftly and asked if he was eligible for diversion.
“He stepped up pretty much immediately,” Skamania County Prosecutor Adam Kick said.
A diversion agreement is standard for first-time offenders charged with misdemeanors, Kick said.
“We did not treat him any easier because of who he was,” Kick said. And “we tried to very hard not to treat him any more harshly.”
The morning hearing in Stevenson before Skamania County Superior Court Judge Brian Altman lasted less than 10 minutes. Afterward, Holmes, dressed in a gray suit, quickly left the courtroom and paid the fine.
When approached by a reporter for comment, Holmes said: “There’s nothing else I really feel like saying. … I’m hoping to move on to the next chapter.”
It is unknown whether the case will affect his license to practice law in Washington. Bar association proceedings are not made public until an internal case is resolved. A bar spokeswoman would not say whether the bar had received a complaint about Holmes.
Listed among reasons for the bar association to discipline a lawyer are such factors as moral turpitude, dishonesty and obstructing justice, according to the state bar’s rules.
The charge was the result of an investigation launched by the Clark County Sheriff’s Office that started May 8, when Holmes’ ex-girlfriend reported that Holmes had slammed a door on her, causing abrasions on her arm and leg.
After detectives seized his phone as part of the investigation, they found dozens of emails — more than 65 from 2010 to 2012 — between Holmes and prostitutes in which he explicitly talked about sex acts and prices, according to police reports. They also found that Holmes had rated one of the prostitutes on an adult site after an encounter.
Most of the allegations against him, both domestic violence- and prostitution-related, were not prosecutable, investigators said, according to police reports.
Holmes had a solid self-defense claim against his girlfriend, investigators said. In police reports, both the girlfriend and Holmes said the two were fighting and she struck him in the face when he slammed the door on her.
Holmes had injuries from the tussle, according to police reports.
After detectives uncovered the emails on his cellphone, they questioned him. Initially, he denied patronizing any prostitutes. Several days later, however, on May 29, he confessed to meeting prostitutes on four occasions — a woman who went by “Miss Oral Queen” twice and two others named “Miami” and “Bailee.”
Holmes said these encounters occurred before May 2011, meaning the statute of limitations — one year for misdemeanors — hindered the state from prosecuting him.
Investigators, however, found dozens of more emails between Holmes and prostitutes from May 2011 until March of this year, according to police reports.
Also, investigators found email receipts showing Holmes had purchased the medication Cialis online without a prescription in August 2011. The medication treats erectile dysfunction, but is also sometimes taken recreationally to improve sexual longevity. The purchase was for 124 pills, according to police reports.
Kick said evidence led to the decision to charge Holmes with attempting to patronize a prostitute because it showed a substantial step to commit the crime.
Laura McVicker: www.twitter.com/col_courts; www.facebook.com/reportermcvicker; email@example.com; 360-735-4516.