December 1, 2010
One Death, One Disbarment Recommended
A Louisiana Disciplinary Committee has recommended the disbarment of an attorney who shot and killed the owner of a bar on the outskirts of Benton, Louisiana. The attorney claimed self-defense but pleaded guilty to manslaughter. He was sentenced to a suspended term of ten years at hard labor. The sentence was vacated and the attorney withdrew his guilty plea. The charges were eventually dropped.
The shooting took place on Thanksgiving Day 2004. The attorney and the victim (also a suspended lawyer) had known each other for 35 years and were best friends.
The committee concluded that the evidence presented in the bar hearing failed to establish that the attorney had acted in self-defense. The victim was unarmed and the lawyer "always carried [his] gun with him when he went for walks, 'for the snakes.' " The gun had a round in the chamber with the safety off. The attorney was going to meet the victim "knowing [the victim] was angry at him." This amounted to gross negligence.
The attorney had been the subject of prior discipline for borrowing and failing to repay the settlement proceeds of a worker's compensation claim. (Mike Frisch)
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