It’s about time: Family law attorney sentenced to two years

Although this story is a few months old, it has largely escaped the mainstream news media outside of the San Francisco–Oakland Bay area. Since it was part of a larger corruption scandal, this attorney’s part in it was a side note.

I want to get this out there for the benefit of some of the victims of family court tyranny and terrorism, since the mainstream press has not covered this extensively, outside of a few articles in the Bay area:

“Dirty DUI” attorney gets two years in prison for her role in scandal

Divorce lawyer gets 2 years in tax evasion, eavesdropping

Former family law attorney and now U.S. Federal inmate Mary Alice Nolan accepted a plea deal back in February for her role in a “Dirty DUI” scandal that also involved a dirty private investigator and ex–Antioch Police Department cop by the name of Christopher Butler of “Butler & Associates,” who was also developing a reality TV show depicting female private eyes.

Butler was sentenced to eight years for his role in the “Dirty DUI” scam as well as a host of other crimes that took down four dirty cops in the Bay area and is allegedly now cooperating in the prosecution of the others involved.

Former family law attorney Nolan represented women in high-conflict divorce cases in the Oakland–San Francisco Bay area and was known as a ferocious attorney. Some comments on Yelp revealed that Nolan caused the high conflict. According to news reports and court testimony, Nolan paid Butler to install listening devices into the cars of men who were involved in divorce cases with female clients whom Nolan represented. The purpose as described by Butler in interviews with law enforcement and prosecutors was to obtain incriminating evidence against the men that Nolan could use against them in subsequent family law proceedings, such as child custody, support, and alimony proceedings for her female clients.

Butler has already admitted to installing these devices in 75 to 100 cars, but it was not clear just how many he did for Nolan.

To further gain an advantage for her female clients, Nolan then instructed Butler to “set up” some of these men for “Dirty DUIs.” Butler, the aspiring reality TV producer, then had attractive young women, whom he paid $25 per hour for a four-hour minimum, meet up with some of the estranged husbands in local bars for drinks. At least one man had met one of the women on

Butler watched and filmed the couple as the paid female associates of Butler began making suggestive comments and acted in a very provocative manner while consuming large amounts of alcohol. One of the women in one of the recordings stated, “I haven’t had sex for so long.”

When the women suggested to their male dates to go “hot-tubbing,” that was Butler’s cue to begin the next step, which was to watch the men get in their cars, then call in and report a “drunk driver” to local cops, who were also in on the deal.

Shortly thereafter, the sobriety-challenged men were stopped by a black and white police car, which ultimately resulted in their arrest for DUI. At least one man’s blood alcohol level was .12, and others were around the basic limit of .08 but were good enough to legitimize the arrest.

Within two to three months, Nolan was back in court, using the DUI arrests of these men in child custody proceedings, claiming they were unsafe, or to get increases in alimony and child support.

Gee, a dirty, greedy, lying, corrupt family law attorney; a corrupt, lying, greedy private investigator and ex-cop; and dirty cops: where have we heard that before?

Corrupt former lawyer Nolan, as part of her plea deal for the tax evasion conviction, had to pay nearly 500K in back taxes, plus a large fine, which forced her to sell her luxury home in the Oakland area. Nolan claimed for several years that her yearly income had been between 20K to 50K when it was actually in excess of $1 million per year. A slight accounting error.

Thankfully, the men who were caught up in Nolan and Butler’s abhorrent criminal behavior had their DUI convictions expunged, and Nolan is facing at least two and possibly as many as six civil suits by these male victims.

Nolan and Butler were part of a larger corruption scandal that included several police officers from a Contra Costa County drug task force and that involved theft of drugs, weapons, property, and prostitution. A couple of disgruntled employees of Butler allegedly “blew the whistle.”

• Norman Wielsch, 49, a former Antioch police officer,  former head of a Contra Costa drug task force, and friend of Christopher Butler, is currently free on $400,000 bail on conspiracy and drug-dealing charges.

• Stephen Tanabe, 47, a former Antioch police officer, former Danville police officer, and Alamo resident, is free on bail for drug and weapon charges.

• Louis Lombardi, 38, a San Ramon Police officer, charged with five felony counts in connection with the case, is also free on bail.

• Don Lawson, a now-retired Concord police officer and a former identity theft consultant for Butler,  is currently a Clayton-based identity theft consultant.

One would think that the antics of Nolan would have been extensively reported and vilified by the legal community, but you would be wrong.

Here is a link to the American Bar Association article in their publication, the ABAJournal. The federal indictment can be found there as well as an additional article:

Lawyer accused of bugging cars, evading taxes is set to enter guilty plea

Private Detective Accused of Setting Up Divorcing Men for DUIs with Help of Alluring Women

This is all the ABA had to say:

A California lawyer accused of evading taxes and hiring a private investigator to bug the cars of clients’ spouses is expected to enter a guilty plea later this month.

Divorce lawyer Mary Nolan, 61, of Oakland is expected to enter the plea on Sept. 27, though details are unknown, report the San Francisco Chronicle and the Contra Costa Times.

Nolan was accused in an indictment last year of tax evasion and paying private investigator Christopher Butler to plant listening devices in cars of her clients’ spouses and significant others. She intended to use the recordings to assist her clients’ legal proceedings, according to the indictment.

Butler testified in a separate case last month that Nolan hired him to stage the DUI arrest of Declan Woods, one of two plaintiffs who claim in civil suits that the lawyer worked with Butler to “dirty” them up before divorce litigation, the Chronicle says. The suits say Butler hired alluring women to drink with the men at bars. The women then asked the men to follow them in their cars, at which point Butler would call police to report drunken driving.

The California State Bar was worse in their publication of Nolan’s activities, and only lists her state bar status as “not entitled to practice.”

As of December 24, 2013, this is all the California State Bar had to say on their website, with additional links to the disciplinary proceedings documents:

MARY ALICE NOLAN [#108907], 61, of Oakland was placed on interim suspension Dec. 24, 2013, following a felony conviction for tax evasion and unlawful interception of communications. She was ordered to comply with rule 9.20 of the California Rules of Court.

Rule 9.20 of the California Rules of the Court essentially means that Nolan must make notifications to clients of her conviction within a specific time frame.

Here’s the link:

Rule 9.20. Duties of disbarred, resigned, or suspended attorneys

From the CA State Bar website, you can link to her disciplinary order by the State Bar Court:

In the Matter of Mary Alice Nolan, A Member of the State Bar, No. 108907

Respondent Mary Alice Nolan has been convicted of violating title 18 United States Code section 2511 (1)(a) (interception of communications), a felony that does not inherently involve moral turpitude but may involve moral turpitude or other misconduct warranting discipline based on the facts and circumstances surrounding the conviction, and title 26 United States Code section 7201 (tax evasion), a felony that provides probably cause to believe it involved moral turpitude based on the record of conviction.

Here’s the disturbing part. The State Bar Court states that her felony conviction does not inherently involve moral turpitude but may involve moral turpitude or other misconduct warranting discipline. Basically,  it’s legal-speak mumbo-jumbo bullshit.


Bugging divorcing males’ cars, setting them up for dirty DUIs, screwing them over in the family court, costing them tens of thousands of dollars and the separation from their kids, destroying their reputations, fraud, and falsifying court documents DOES NOT inherently involve moral turpitude??

And the California State Bar and the State Bar Court only list her license status as NOT ELIGIBLE TO PRACTICE LAW, basically a suspension for doing time in the federal slammer?

Is there anyone out there who is not completely convinced as I am that the legal system in the State of California and the rest of the country is completely incapable of policing their own?

Nolan was looking at 15 years but received 24 months, of which the prosecutor asked for a sentence of 37 months, of which she’ll probably only do a year at Club Fed in Dublin, whittling her time away between yoga sessions and tennis matches.

This corrupt lawyer should do the full 15 years and have her license to practice law pulled, not suspended. She should be making little rocks out of big ones while chained to the inmate next to her, under the watchful eye of a guard sporting a 30.06.

Here is a link to the Bay Area Divorce Lawyer Blog and an article written by family law attorney Lorna Jaynes:

Ethically challenged client and California divorce attorney trick ex-husband into drunk-driving after setting him up with hot-tub blonde on

Bay area family law attorney Lorna Jaynes apparently at one time represented a client and her opposing counsel was Mary Nolan. Jaynes bowed out of the case when she realized who she was up against. In Jaynes’s post on this blog, she commented on the Nolan case and titled her article, “Ethically challenged client and California divorce attorney trick ex-husband into drunk-driving after setting him up with hot-tub blonde on”

So I guess a guy involved in a nasty divorce going out for a few drinks with a hot blonde who was leading him on is deemed “ethically challenged” by Ms. Jaynes. The guy probably wasn’t in the right frame of mind and should have realized that he shouldn’t get behind the wheel, but Jaynes doesn’t seem to think Mary Nolan, who was involved in a criminal conspiracy, obstruction of justice, falsifying official court records, accessory to emotional child abuse, fraud and fraud upon the court, wiretapping, and income tax evasion is “ethically challenged.”


This is the mindset of a large segment of family law attorneys in California and everywhere else. Convictions for multiple federal felonies are considered to be, or may not be, an inherent violation of moral turpitude, not worthy of commendation by professional legal associations and oversight bodies, and not worthy of disbarment.

What do these corrupt lawyers have to do in order to get disbarred: commit a murder on video and then confess to it?

Here is a link to the Federal Bureau of Prisons inmate locator, which shows that Nolan is serving her time at the Dublin California Federal Correction Institute, where she is scheduled to be released in December 2015. FCI Dublin is a minimum security prison for females.

Federal Bureau of Prisons Inmate Lookup

Using this search tool will find:

Register Number: 17613-111
Age: 62
Race: White
Sex: Female
Located at: Dublin FCI

Release Date: 12/01/2015

This is the address, phone, and email for FCI Dublin, and if you are as outraged as I am, then please feel free to exercise your First Amendment rights by politely voicing your displeasure with the warden with the slap-on-the-wrist sentence given to Nolan and oppose any early release. It would be nice to see her serve every second of her sentence.

FCI Dublin
5701 8th Street, Camp Parks
Dublin, CA 94568
Email: DUB/
Phone: (925) 833-7500
Fax: (925) 833-7599

It’s plain to see the vast amount of damage that just this one corrupt family law attorney has caused, yet the legal system does not seem to share the same level of disgust that the trail of victims she left in her wake and others do.

Let’s hope that the plaintiffs suing Nolan will prevail, and let’s hope that she never practices law again, ever.

Here’s your chance, readers. Let the FCI Dublin warden hear your voice.

And Mary Alice Nolan, may you rot in hell.

Recommended Content

%d bloggers like this: