Los Alamos attorney and candidate for Magistrate Judge Tim Bullock. Photo by Maire O’Neill/losalamosreporter.com
BY MAIRE O’NEILL
The Los Alamos Reporter interviewed local attorney Tim Bullock, candidate for Los Alamos Magistrate Court Judge in November’s general election, to discuss something he called “the worst thing that ever happened to” him in his life back in 1992.
Bullock said he had been contacted by another Los Alamos news source about his having been disbarred in Colorado for eight years on a conditional admission of misconduct. The disbarment arose from his representation of a client during his first year practicing law, when he was 35 years old and living in Englewood, Colorado.
“I represented a desperate man pro bono (without charge) through a lengthy criminal trial in 1992. My client was charged with criminally negligent child abuse, found guilty and was sentenced to six years in prison. He was released after a year or two and was sentenced to a halfway house,” Bullock said.
Against his advice, he said the client walked away from the half-way house bringing with him his 13 year-old son. Months later, Bullock said he accepted three collect phone calls from his fugitive client in Kansas claiming he was seeking a way to return his son to his mother in Colorado. On condition that the client would turn himself in to local authorities, Bullock said he arranged for a minister to send $100 – enough money for the child to purchase a bus ticket. The client did not turn himself over to authorities and was later apprehended in a southern state to face new charges of “escape”, he said.
In a plea deal with prosecutors concerning new charges against him Bullock said the client attempted to get a better deal by accusing Bullock of multiple crimes, all of which were provably false except for accepting the three collect phone calls and arranging money for the child’s bus ticket home to his mother. He said the client subsequently accepted a plea bargain on new charges of “escape” which resulted in a new four year sentence to a half-way house. Bullock was charged with “aiding escape’.
In retrospect, Bullock said he should have gone straight to authorities and given them the name of the town and the phone number used by his client.
Bullock pled guilty to a deferred judgment and sentence on one charge of “aiding escape”.
“During sentencing it was evident that the client was a con man who made me a target. I did not operate out of self motive,” he said.
Under a plea agreement, Bullock was convicted on a deferred judgment and sentence of one count of felony aiding an escape and one count of misdemeanor aiding an escape. He was sentenced to probation and community service hours. No fine was imposed and charges against him were later dropped.
“I was simply trying to do the human thing”, Bullock said. Professionally, he was disbarred.
Eight years later, Bullock re-took the bar exam and was re-admitted to the Colorado bar. The same year, he sat and passed the Tennessee bar. In 2021, Bullock was admitted to the New Mexico bar where he now practices in New Mexico and Colorado.
When asked how the incident has affected his outlook and his qualification to be on the bench Bullock said it softened him and made him more compassionate toward others.
Bullock, his wife of 38 years, Linda, and their two sons have lived full-time in Los Alamos for three years. Prior to that they maintained residences in both Los Alamos and Colorado for several years. He is an Eagle Advisor for Boy Scouts Troop 22 and will be president of the Rotary Club of Los Alamos in 2024.
He received his undergraduate from the University of Denver, Colo., a graduate business degree from the London School of Economics and graduated from the Law School at the University of Denver. He is running for election to the Los Alamos Magistrate Judge position currently held by Judge Pat Casados who is retiring in December.