Friday, January 16, 2009
Prior to her 2006 admission to the Louisiana Bar, an attorney had been convicted of being on the grounds of a public elementary or secondary school without authorization amd resisting arrest. She was on probation for those offenses at the time of admission and had disclosed the convictions in the admissions process. After she was admitted, her probation was revoked as a result of entering school property without authorization again three times. She served a short jail sentence.
As a result, bar charges were brought. She defended the charges on grounds that she had lacked criminal intent and that she "was a victim of a protracted dispute with her son's school and the 'political forces' of St. Tammany Parish, Louisiana." The hearing committee rejected these contentions and has recommended that she be suspended for a year and a day:
The Committee believes that in many respects...[she] had a number of opportunities to "step back" and exercise self-control before this problem became so big.
At each junction (sic), she refused to listen to the advice and/or multiple chances and/or warning signs that events had gotten out of control--Judge Knight's admonitions at her criminal trial, resisting arrest, the police being called to school property three times, numerous interactions with school personnel, the court system and now the ODC. at each stage [she] ignored these signs at her peril. The Committee is heartened that no legal client has been harmed, but believes that [her] continued failure to take any responsibility for her actions or exercise any self-control over her accusations of conspiracy bodes ill for her career as an attorney...
The committee noted that the misconduct arose from the attorney's concern about her son's education and wellbeing. It appears that the accusations that the attorney made about the actions of the bar prosecutors (she "clearly now believes that ODC should be added to the list of parties out to 'get her') played a major role in the committee's sanction proposal.
The committee noted her commitment to pro bono work, for which she had been included in an honor roll of volunteers. (Mike Frisch)