December 6, 2009
With Friends Like These...
An attorney had a "longtime friend and client" who was arrested on a charges of possession of cocaine. The friend set up the attorney in exchange for leniency by advising police that he could obtain marijuana from him. The attorney gave the friend a small bag of marijuana. The attorney was then arrested and handcuffed outside of his home. A search of the interior revealed 7 1/2 ounces and materials associated with distribution, a small amount of cocaine and other substances. The attorney tested positive only for marijuana.
The attorney self-reported the arrest and was placed on interim suspension. The interim suspension later was dissolved when the attorney entered into a five-year contract with the Bar's Lawyer Assistance Program. The criminal charges were dropped as the evidence from the search was suppressed. Disciplinary proceedings ensued, in which claims of entrapment and evidence suppression were rejected as possible defenses to the charges.
The Louisiana Supreme Court imposed a suspension of two years with credit for time served on the interim suspension. The attorney acknowledged marijuana use from 1994 to 2007 (the attorney suffers from glaucoma) and, as noted, has participated in the bar's recovery program. (Mike Frisch)
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