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Attorney who turned clients into sex crime victims gets year in jail

A Buchanan attorney who pleaded guilty to multiple sex crimes for forcing women to have sex in exchange for representing them has learned his fate.

After Berrien County judges disqualified themselves because he had appeared before them for so many years, Kalamazoo Judge Pamela Lightvoet on Wednesday sentenced attorney Lanny Fisher to a year in jail, followed by five years of probation. He also must annually register as a Michigan sex offender for 15 years.

Prosecutors charged Fisher with 15 counts of criminal sexual conduct, including two acts with a girl younger than 15. He pleaded guilty to three counts.

Interim Berrien County Prosecutor Amy Byrd said she hopes Fisher’s victims can start to heal.

"There is no sentence that could ever make up for the egregious acts that were done on these victims," Byrd said. "Many of them were here at court and were willing to speak, and so I hope that is part of their process. This does bring them some finality."

Fisher, who’s 55, was cuffed and taken into custody immediately after the hearing. He’ll serve his sentence in the Berrien County Jail rather than in a state prison, which was a condition of his plea agreement.

Michigan’s Attorney Discipline Board automatically suspended Fisher’s law license on an interim basis when he pleaded guilty to a felony. A hearing panel will ultimately decide his fate as an attorney.

Parrott, a longtime public radio fan, comes to WVPE with about 25 years of journalism experience at newspapers in Indiana and Michigan, including 13 years at The South Bend Tribune. He and Kristi live in Granger and have two children currently attending Indiana University in Bloomington. In his free time he enjoys fixing up their home, following his favorite college and professional sports teams, and watching TV (yes that's an acceptable hobby).