Disbarred attorney sentenced to 12 years | TahoeDailyTribune.com

Disbarred attorney sentenced to 12 years

Sheila Gardner
Jim Grant

A disbarred lawyer, with prior felony convictions for stalking, was sentenced Monday to 12 years in Nevada state prison for his third offense.

District Judge Michael Gibbons told defendant Michael Meisler, 61, he must serve four years before he is eligible for parole.

Gibbons also granted a 20-year-protection order on behalf of the victim, warning Meisler if he contacted the 60-year-old woman between now and 2023, he would face additional felony charges.

Meisler, who acted as his own lawyer at trial, was convicted by a jury of aggravated stalking. The offense carries a penalty of up to 15 years.

“Michael Meisler put my friends, family and me through anguish and terror,” the woman said in a short statement. “Some people add goodness to the world, and some seek to destroy it.”

She told Gibbons the “decision to protect women and children is in your hands,” and asked that Meisler be sentenced to the maximum.

She requested that the protection order include home and workplace for herself and her two sons.

Following the sentencing, the woman said she was disappointed that Meisler didn’t receive the maximum.

“I really don’t think he is remorseful. He can’t separate realities from fantasies. He is mentally ill, and the minute he gets out of prison, I think there will be another victim,” she said.

Meisler gave a rambling, 15-minute statement in which he expressed contrition, but talked about how much the victim hurt him when she tried to end their relationship.

They met in March 2011, and dated off-and-on for about nine months when the victim decided to break up with Meisler at Thanksgiving 2011.

He was accused of sending her texts and emails, calling her a slut, and threatening her teenage son. He entered her home without permission, left threatening notes to her son and a male friend, then bragged about it to her in a phone text while she was at work. She contacted the Douglas County Sheriff’s Office.

Meisler was arrested Dec. 15, 2011, and has remained in Douglas County Jail.

Meisler was convicted of stalking in Florida, and New Mexico.

He told Gibbons Monday the victim did not need to worry that he would contact her.

“I have no interest whatsoever of harassing her or hurting (the victim) again,” he said.

Meisler’s attorney, Kris Brown, said the focus of Meisler’s threats against the victim was public humiliation over the details of a lawsuit, and never meant to imply physical harm.

“The defendant does have a bad track record for stalking, and a bad track record for a big mouth,” Brown said. “The language he used was rude and insulting, but it was not meant as death threats,” she said.

“He does have some mental health issues,” she said. “It’s sad the justice system is unable to handle it.”

Prosecutor Tom Gregory said the jury spoke with their verdict as to whether the crime was simple or aggravated stalking.

“Their verdict answers that question,” he said.

“The best way to protect women in general and (the victim) in particular is prison. We know that probation has not worked, and temporary restraining orders haven’t worked. Prison will give her the greatest peace of mind,” Gregory said.

In reaching his decision, Gibbons said he considered Meisler’s prior record, the lack of physical violence, remorse, and mental health issues.

“His remorse today appears to be genuine, but he is pretty good at manipulating people,” Gibbons said.

He said Meisler’s intent — which raised the offense to aggravated stalking — was most difficult to prove.

“It’s the hardest to deliberate. You have to get in somebody else’s mind. But the jury found intent was there and the court agrees,” Gibbons said.

Gregory said after the verdict he was pleased to bring the case to a close.

“I am hopeful it will bring (the victim) peace of mind,” he said. “I was hoping for the maximum, but the judge gave thoughtful reasoning to all factors, and made a just decision.”

Meisler has 30 days to file an appeal.

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