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Attorney receives 5-year suspension for downloading child pornography

Laura Brown//August 14, 2023

The Supreme Court chamber at the State Capitol

The Minnesota Supreme Court chamber at the State Capitol. (File photo)

Attorney receives 5-year suspension for downloading child pornography

Laura Brown//August 14, 2023

A Minnesota attorney who was convicted of second-degree possession of child sex abuse material in Washington state has been indefinitely suspended from the practice of law in Minnesota with no right to petition for reinstatement for 5 years. On Aug. 4, the Minnesota Supreme Court approved the jointly recommended disposition for discipline.

Fred Warren Inman, 62, was admitted to practice law in Minnesota in October 2000. A member of the U.S. Army Reserve and the Minnesota National Guard, Inman was commissioned as a first lieutenant in the U.S. Army Reserve Judge Advocate General’s Corps. Later, Inman served as Special Assistant U.S. Attorney for the Western District Court of Washington. Inman was also licensed to practice law in Washington state, where he was admitted to the state bar in June of 2021. He had most recently worked in private practice in Washington state.

Inman would not practice law in Washington state for long. The National Center for Missing and Exploited Children and CyberTip provided tips to the Sequim Police Department in Washington state that images that depicted minors engaged in sexually explicit conduct were being downloaded. Inman came into possession of those images in July 2021.

The images were originally downloaded to Inman’s cellphone and then uploaded to cloud storage that is provided by Verizon. They depicted children as young as 5 to 11 years old engaged in sexually suggestive or explicit conduct. In all, 37 images of prepubescent girls were found on Inman’s cell phone. These images had been originally uploaded to the internet between 2002 and 2021. Some of the young girls in the images were identified as victims of abuse from FBI and Homeland Security investigations conducted in the late 1990s and early 2000s. There was also images of young girls in suggestive poses taken from commercial websites.

Inman was charged in Clallam County Superior Court in Washington state with the possession of child pornography in 2021. He was originally charged with first-degree and second-degree possession of depictions of minors engaged in sexually explicit conduct. With first-degree possession, each image constitutes a separate offense, whereas each incident of possession is a separate offense for second-degree possession. Those charges, both felonies, carry a maximum prison sentence of 10 years.

The first-degree charge was dismissed. In June of 2022, Inman pleaded guilty to one count of possession of images of minors engaged in sexually explicit conduct in the second degree, a Class B felony. On July 7, Inman was sentenced to 6 months of confinement.

Inman resigned from the Washington state bar in lieu of discipline in September 2022. The resignation is permanent and any future application for reinstatement is barred. The rule surrounding attorney discipline and resignation differs in Washington state from Minnesota. In Minnesota, a lawyer cannot resign from the practice of law while being the subject of a disciplinary matter.

Inman is also required to disclose to any potential employers who inquire about disciplinary action that he resigned in lieu of discipline. He must also disclose the resignation to prospective employers if asked a question about his law license.

In March 2023, the Minnesota Office of Lawyers Professional Responsibility and Inman jointly stipulated to the five-year suspension from the practice of law. Inman may petition for reinstatement after the five years if, in addition to completing the professional responsibility written examination and satisfying legal education requirements, he completes sex offender treatment if it is required as part of his sentence. The court also noted that Inman must undergo a psychosexual evaluation if sex offender treatment was not ordered as part of the sentence.

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