Former local attorney admits to misconduct

A former Jackson County deputy district attorney has been banned from practicing law for one year after admitting to professional misconduct and criminal behavior.

Matt Chancellor, 38, resigned from his job as a deputy district attorney in October 2006 in the face of allegations that he had sexual contact with a rape victim on whose case he was working. He pleaded guilty to driving under the influence of intoxicants twice — once in Clackamas County in November 2006 and once in Douglas County in February 2007 — and to disorderly conduct in Central Point in February 2007.

This January, facing an Oregon State Bar disciplinary hearing, Chancellor agreed to a one-year suspension from practicing law. Under the agreement, known as a "stipulation for discipline," he admitted that he violated the rules set out for the professional conduct of lawyers.

In the case of his misconduct with a rape victim, Chancellor acknowledged that he continued with a case despite a personal interest in it after having a physical relationship with the victim, then lied about drinking and having contact with the woman. His actions violated rules about conflict of interest and dishonesty, and could have harmed the administration of justice, the stipulation read.

In the string of drunken driving and disorderly conduct cases, the documents point out that he failed to comply with court orders, including a diversion program in Clackamas County and probation terms in Clackamas, Douglas and Jackson counties by continuing to drink and break the law. Chancellor admitted that he violated the court orders and that his criminal behavior reflected adversely on his fitness to practice law, both violations of the bar's rules of conduct. He also acknowledged that such behavior would have resulted in the denial of his admission to the bar if he were just now applying, giving grounds for disciplinary action under state law.

For all suspensions that last longer than six months, attorneys must go through a "formal reinstatement" process to return to the practice of law, bar spokeswoman Kateri Walsh said. If Chancellor wants to return to work as an attorney, he will have the burden of proof to show that he has the character and is fit to meet the bar's standards. A detailed questionnaire must be completed and approved by the bar's governing board, which can also do an investigation, then filed with in the state's Supreme Court.

Bar records show Chancellor lives in Salem with his parents, but he didn't reply to phone and e-mail messages sent to the contact information listed on those records.

Reach reporter Anita Burke at 776-4485 or at

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