For Immediate Release
Media Contact: Bob Cooper
(208) 334-4112

Date: April 13, 2006

Attorney General Closes Blaine County Investigation Into Allegations Surrounding Deceased Deputy

(Boise) – The Attorney General’s Office has closed a criminal investigation into allegations surrounding the late Deputy Sheriff Michael Lance, conducted at the request of the Blaine County Prosecuting Attorney, Attorney General Lawrence Wasden said. Wasden said his office will not file criminal charges.

Blaine County Prosecuting Attorney Jim Thomas had asked the Attorney General to investigate the circumstances surrounding the death of Michael Lance, a detention officer employed by the Blaine County Sheriff’s Office. Thomas also asked the Attorney General to investigate allegations of unlawful sexual contact between Lance and a female inmate at the Blaine County Jail.

“Our investigation into the facts and circumstances surrounding the death of Michael Lance did not reveal any evidence that indicated that he died by any means other than a self-inflicted gunshot to the head,” Deputy Attorney General Stephen Bywater, Chief of the Attorney General’s Criminal Law Division, wrote in a letter to Thomas.

Bywater also wrote that the investigation into allegations of inappropriate sexual contact between Lance and a female inmate was unable to establish definitively whether or not Lance engaged in sexual contact with the inmate. However, the investigation did reveal substantial evidence that Lance was engaged in inappropriate behavior with this and other female inmates of Blaine County.

“Our prosecutorial review of the facts developed by the investigation has led us to the conclusion that there is insufficient evidence to support and prove criminal charges based upon either of the matters we investigated,” Bywater told Thomas.

The Attorney General’s Office has released the records of the Michael Lance investigation. Citizens may obtain a copy of the records on compact disc by making a written request addressed to: Public Records Request, Office of the Attorney General, 700 W. State St., P.O. Box 83720, Boise, ID 83720-0010.

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