Tuesday, March 17, 2009
A Louisiana hearing committee has recommended a one year suspension retroactive to a suspension imposed in 1997 and two years probation when a final order is issued, in a case involving multiple acts of misconduct including concersion, "stiffing" health care providers and failing to show up for a trial wherein his client faced second-degree murder charges. The violations had occured while he was addicted to alcohol and cocaine. He persuaded the committee "that his recovery from these addictions has been genuine, consistent, continuous, and sustained for 11 years...Indeed, his recovery has been inspirational."
The committee struggled with its sanction proposal, noting that:
[t]here is no shortage of ethically challenged attorneys, and it can be forcefully argued that society and our profession will be better served by a severe sanction...On the other hand, the Committee finds [his] remorse and recovery to be no flash in the pan. He has been sober for 11 years, a model citizen, and leader for most of those years, and is by all accounts unlikely to stray from the path he has trampled while shouldering the burden of his misconduct and resulting shame.
The committee noted that his return to practice will increase the likelihood of restitution to his victims. (Mike Frisch)