Pittsburgh attorney suspended for drug convictions
The state Supreme Court’s disciplinary arm on Wednesday suspended a Pittsburgh attorney who was exonerated from accusations that he had sex with his dog but pleaded guilty to drug-related charges.
The court-ordered temporary suspension of Ivan DeVoren of the city’s Highland Park neighborhood is set to take effect on Aug. 2, the Disciplinary Board said in a news release. It was not immediately clear how long the suspension will last.
The board’s rules allow temporarily suspended lawyers to continue to represent existing clients with active cases for 30 days following the order.
DeVoren declined to comment Wednesday afternoon.
The disciplinary action follows DeVoren’s guilty plea in January to possession of marijuana, possession of a controlled substance — including heroin and cocaine — and possession of drug paraphernalia. In a separate incident, DeVoren pleaded guilty to disorderly conduct and discharging a firearm into an occupied structure.
Defense lawyers told the Tribune-Review in late January that DeVoren never had sex with his dog. Prosecutors dropped a slew of animal cruelty charges as part of his Jan. 11 plea deal.
They said DeVoren had a heroin and cocaine problem and had been clean for nearly a year.
“Absolutely nothing happened with this animal that was sexual in any way,” defense attorney T. Brent McCune told the Trib.
Mike Manko, a spokesman with the Allegheny County District Attorney’s office, said earlier this year that the dog, a yellow Labrador retriever named Snoopy, was “healthy and happy” and with a foster caretaker. Manko said the DA offered to drop the animal cruelty charges “in order to have him surrender the dog to the foster family.”
Manko declined comment on the defense lawyers’ assertion that the animal abuse never occurred.
DeVoren originally was charged with 10 counts of aggravated cruelty to animals, 10 counts of sexual intercourse with an animal and four drug violations.
The alleged animal cruelty incidents took place over the course of several days in January 2018 and were overheard by DeVoren’s neighbor, who said he heard suspicious sounds through the wall and reported them to police, a criminal complaint said.
McCune said the neighbor misinterpreted the sounds, explaining that DeVoren suffers from neurological ticks that were exacerbated by drug use.
Police obtained a search warrant Feb. 1 and seized dog bedding and sheets from the apartment on Azimuth Court. They also found crack cocaine in plain view, the complaint said.
Defense attorney Randall Ricciuti said a second veterinary opinion showed the dog was not sexually abused.
Separately, DeVoren was charged in March 2018 related to firing a gun in his apartment.
As part of the plea deal, DeVoren is not allowed to be around any pets and cannot possess a firearm.
He also will spend more than four years on probation.
Natasha Lindstrom is a Tribune-Review staff writer. You can contact Natasha at 412-380-8514, [email protected] or via Twitter .