Wednesday, May 11, 2011
A justice of the peace (who is not an attorney) was suspended without pay for one year by the Louisiana Supreme Court.
While visiting a jail to perform notarial duties, the JOP was approached by an inmate who asked him to sign a judgment of divorce for her. He acceded to the request "[d]espite having no authority or jurisdiction to do so as a justice of the peace..." The inmate sent the document to a court as an attachment to a new divorce petition. The court clerk forwarded the document to the Office of Special Counsel.
The sanction imposed by the court involved a lengthier suspension than proposed by the Judiciary Commission:
[The JOP's] lack of familiarity with even the most basic rules pertaining to the exercise of his authority in a civil matter constitutes serious misconduct.
The JOP had prior discipline for issuing two arrest warrants and setting excessive bonds "admittedly in retaliation for the individuals' political opposition to the Mayor of Simmesport." (Mike Frisch)