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Washington Paralegal Charged with Assault During Flight

Sherilee “Leesa” Van Zandt, a paralegal employed by the City of Spokane, has been charged in Spokane County District Court with assaulting an Alaska Airlines flight attendant “in a drunken, profanity-laced tirade.

Police say that Van Zandt claimed to be a city prosecutor when they tried to calm her.

She’ll continue her job helping with civil cases as the criminal case proceeds, said City Attorney Howard Delaney.

“It’s really unrelated to her job and it was off duty, so I’m not really doing anything at this point until we see how it turns out,” Delaney said.

Van Zandt apparently left quite an impression on witnesses, who seem to have provided extensive details about her behavior to the police, including allegations that she was drinking while traveling with a small child and tampered with a crew member’s lunch.

See The Spokesman Review

2 Responses to Washington Paralegal Charged with Assault During Flight

  1. According to police, she also held herself out as an attorney:

    "'She kept reminding us that she was an attorney and that she fought for us on a daily basis,' according to a report written by Spokane Airport Police Officer Clay Creek."

    “'Van Zandt told me (flight crews) made her sit in the back row and then seemed to lose focus and again told me she was a lawyer,' according to a report by Officer R. Swanson."

    Her boss must be very understanding.

  2. Yep, I noted in the post that police said she identified herself as a city prosecutor during the fracas, which definitely makes her attorney supervisor very understanding! That allegation is one of the reasons that this news item is relevant to the paralegal profession.

    Whatever actually happened and whatever the ultimate outcome of the criminal charges and her employment situation, it sounds like Van Zandt was having a very, very bad day. I hope she is getting support from family and friends, and seeking assistance for any underlying issues that may have resulted in her being the focus of a national news story.

Contact Info:

Lynne J. DeVenny, N.C. State Bar Certified Paralegal

Owner & Virtual Paralegal, DeVenny Paralegal Services

Email: lynne.devenny[at]

Telephone: 336-582-0003

Inquiries are welcome, with free quotes available.

Meet Lynne:

Lynne DeVenny is a North Carolina State Bar Certified Paralegal with over 27 years of experience working on complex litigation cases, including medical malpractice, personal injury, workers’ compensation, and Social Security disability.

Disclosure: I am not a lawyer and cannot provide legal representation or legal advice.

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