NORMAN — A judge has made a Shawnee attorney a convicted felon for bringing food and money to her violent meth-addicted boyfriend while he was a fugitive last year.
The decision means Shelley Lynne Levisay, 34, likely will be banned from practicing law, possibly for life.
"You should have known better," Cleveland County District Judge Thad Balkman told her at her sentencing Wednesday.
"You swore an oath to support and protect and defend the Constitution, which implies that you would follow all the laws, including the law that prohibits harboring a fugitive," the judge said.
Levisay was accused last year of harboring a fugitive by providing her then-boyfriend, David Gerdon, supplies and access to a vehicle for days so he could escape arrest. The evidence against her included her text messages and surveillance video of her bringing him groceries to a travel trailer in rural Cleveland County.
She had been in court Dec. 27, 2017, when a Pottawatomie County judge ordered Gerdon's arrest on probation violations in his assault cases. Gerdon was caught on Jan. 24, 2018, days before he was due back in court. He is now in prison.
Levisay pleaded no contest Wednesday to the felony charge even though she admitted helping Gerdon while he was a fugitive. She told the judge she had not thought at the time she was breaking the law by bringing him food and money.
She described her former boyfriend as emotionally and physically abusive. She said he once woke her up by throwing water on her. She testified he then told her it was gasoline and that he was going to set her on fire unless her attitude changed.
"I wanted to be in a relationship so bad," she testified. "I was just blind."
Her attorney, Kent Bridge, asked the judge for a deferred sentence. The defense attorney pointed out Levisay, a former prosecutor, repeatedly asked Gerdon in the text messages to go to the VA Hospital to get help and possibly avoid prison.
"She's not Bonnie and Clyde," the defense attorney said.
A deferred sentence is a type of punishment that would have left Levisay without a felony conviction on her record and given her a better chance at keeping or eventually regaining her law license.
The judge instead gave her a two-year suspended sentence, fined her $5,000 and ordered her to complete 100 hours of community service.
"I am going to give a conviction," Balkman said to her. "I think you've definitely learned a lot from this. But I believe that's what justice requires. Unfortunately, you made some really poor choices, and part of that involved putting other people at harm. And that's why there has to be a conviction on this sentence."
The judge was referring to evidence Gerdon chased another woman with a gun outside the travel trailer and a text message indicating Levisay had worried he was the one involved in a police shootout. Levisay acknowledged in her testimony that she had put at risk the other woman and law enforcement officers searching for her boyfriend.
She also revealed she ended her relationship with Gerdon, 39, only six weeks ago. They began dating in 2016 after she represented him in a divorce case.
"I exercised horrible judgment," she said. "I absolutely wish I could go back and undo it but I can't."
Oklahoma Supreme Court justices will decided whether to disbar her after being notified of her felony conviction. She said she has over 300 active clients.