Law Denies Man His Dream Of Becoming A Lawyer

Law Denies Man His Dream Of Becoming A Lawyer

Guy Hamilton-Smith graduated from UK Law in 2011. He has not passed the bar, and he's not even allowed to take the exam.
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A Lexington man who graduated from law school wants to be a lawyer, and there's nothing unusual about that.

What is unusual is the laws he wants to uphold, are also denying him his dream. 

Guy Hamilton-Smith's fight to practice law has gone all the way to Kentucky's highest court.

Guy Hamilton-Smith wants to be a lawyer so he can help people.

"I wanted to be an advocate for people that didn't have an advocate.  My original plan was to go to the public defender's office," said Hamilton-Smith.

Those plans are on hold.  Hamilton-Smith graduated from UK Law in 2011, and works at a Lexington law firm, but not as a lawyer, because he hasn't passed the bar.

"I am a sex offender," said Hamilton-Smith.

Hamilton-Smith says he would spend hours at night looking at all types of porn.  He says he downloaded naked pictures of underage girls as young as 11 years old.

"I had convinced myself that I wasn't doing anything wrong, that I wasn't hurting anyone," said Hamilton-Smith.

His girlfriend reported him to police in 2007.  Hamilton-Smith says he came home that day, learned he'd be arrested, and almost jumped off the balcony of his apartment.

"The very sort of taboo nature of it appealed to something in me, and I was very deep in denial," said Hamilton-Smith.

Hamilton-Smith plead guilty to a felony charge, and he is a registered sex offender. 

He's thankful for the arrest.  He went through a 12-step program and therapy. 

During his own prosecution Hamilton-Smith first became interested in law, but becoming a lawyer is a whole new legal battle.

The Bar Association rejected him, because he's on the sex offender registry. 

Hamilton-Smith's attorney, Scott White, asked the state Supreme Court to consider cases like this on an individual basis. 

White argued denying Hamilton-Smith the opportunity to take the bar prevents him from becoming a productive member of society.

The Supreme Court told Hamilton-Smith he can apply for the Bar when is off the sex offender registry, which can't happen for at least 18 more years. 

Hamilton-Smith asked the court to reconsider.

"We're not about to win any popularity contests.  I know that," said Hamilton-Smith.

He says it might be worth discussing the pros and cons of the registry.

"If at the end of the day I never get to take the Bar Exam, I will try to find other ways to be able to help others," said Hamilton-Smith.
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