Inmate Michael More accuses lawyer Kent Nicholas of assault; state bar investigation ongoing

Posted at 10:05 PM, Jul 17, 2016

The Arizona Bar Association is investigating an incident involving a Valley attorney after surveillance video surfaces, reportedly showing that attorney assaulting his client who was in jail at the time. 

The Durango Jail is home to roughly 2,000 inmates in Maricopa County, accused of crimes both major and minor. 

But in this case, one of the inmates says he was the victim of a crime, and it happened inside jail walls. 

"He assaulted a 54-year-old cardio patient. Are you kidding me?" explains Michael More, an inmate in the Arizona State Prison Facility in Florence. "This was the most horrible thing you could imagine."

More is talking about surveillance video from the Durango Jail, recorded in March. It shows More getting slapped across the face by his attorney. MCSO documents identify him as attorney Kent Nicholas. 

"I was flabbergasted. First of all, I was hurt. I saw stars. And I couldn't believe that number one that he talked to me like that, and number two, he assaulted me." 

We spoke to More exclusively over the phone from the Florence prison facility, where he's currently serving a five-year sentence. 

So, what led to the confrontation? More says he wasn't happy with how Nicholas handled his case. After making a motion to fire him, Nicholas stopped by the Durango Jail for a meeting with his soon-to-be former client. That meeting didn't go as planned. 

"The lawyer looks across from me and says, 'What do you want from me?' And I say, 'Decent representation,'" More recalled. 

After that, More says Nicholas yelled an offensive saying at him, to which More admits he responded "F--- you." 

Seconds later, surveillance video shows Nicholas get up out of his seat, slap More across the face with the case file and storm out of the room. 

More says he was stunned. He hasn't seen Nicholas since, but more than anything, he'd like to see Nicholas pay for what he did. 

"We all think he should be disbarred. As well, he needs to pay for his crime. Everybody else does. He shouldn't be above the law."

Nicholas declined a request for comment on this story. 

The Maricopa County Sheriff's Office investigated the incident and recommended assault charges, but months later, ABC15 has found no record that any charges were ever pursued by the Maricopa County Attorney's Office. The attorney's office said it is looking into the case.

As for More, he says he's hiring a public defender and is looking for an additional lawyer. He plans to sue Nicholas for pain and suffering and says he'd like to try and get back some of the $4,300 he claims to have spent in legal fees. 

MAR. 23, 2017 UPDATE:

According to documents obtained by ABC15, The State Bar Association and attorney Kent Nicholas and his lawyer have agreed on punishment. 

The State Bar will formally reprimand Nicholas and also place him on a two-year probation. A judge still needs to sign off on this agreement before it's finalized. 

We reached out to Mr. Nicholas' attorney, but he did not wish to comment on the case. 

Michael More's family told us the punishment isn't steep enough. 

"It's a slap on the hand" explains Steven Mirochnick, More's cousin, who lives in Indiana.

Mirochnick also says he's paid Mr. Nicholas $4300, and he'd like every penny of that money back. 

"I didn't pay him all that money to beat up on my cousin."