Wednesday, December 6, 2017
The Louisiana Supreme Court sanctioned an attorney by consent
The Office of Disciplinary Counsel (“ODC”) commenced an investigation into allegations that respondent filed two judicial complaints against a judge, as well as a petition for damages against the judge and respondent’s former wife, and that none of these filings had a factual basis. Following the filing of formal charges, respondent and the ODC submitted a joint petition for consent discipline in which respondent admitted that his conduct violated Rules 3.1, 8.4(a), 8.4(c), and 8.4(d) of the Rules of Professional Conduct.
The Times-Picayune had the story
New Orleans Municipal Judge Paul Sens was sleeping with the wife of a man who was facing domestic battery charges in Sens' court, a civil lawsuit filed Friday claims.
Attorney Phil C. Nugent filed a lawsuit seeking damages from his ex-wife, Rachel Bertrand Nugent and Sens, claiming that Rachel Nugent had been carrying on an affair with the married judge for months when the Nugents appeared in Sens's courtroom in a domestic battery case in April 2014.
The lawsuit says the case landed in Sens' court because another judge assigned to hear the case recused himself. Sens' clerk granted a continuance in the case, according to the lawsuit. Nugent claims his civil rights were violated because the judge was in an intimate relationship with Rachel Nugent.
Phil Nugent pleaded guilty to domestic battery charges in May 2014 in Judge Sean Early's court.
Rachel Nugent said Friday that she filed to divorce Philip Nugent in 2012, and didn't meet Sens until July 2014-- after both she and Sens had divorced their spouses-- and that Sens never presided over the the domestic battery case.
In a press release announcing the lawsuit, Phil Nugent dates the start of the affair as October 2013, but says the relationship was "first discovered" when Rachel Nugent received a bottle of perfume and an "elegant birthday card" in April 2014.
The lawsuit draws Sens' name into another messy divorce story. The judge's estranged wife, Ann Sens, faces battery charges for allegedly hitting and biting her husband last May, the day after he filed to divorce her. Ann Sens has subsequently claimed that Sens physically and verbally abused her as well.
Nugent also claims Sens later used his political clout to talk New Orleans Police officers out of arresting Rachel Nugent in December 2014, when Phil Nugent called police to report his ex-wife had left the couple's three children unattended.
Rachel Nugent said her husband called police to report she had left the children alone often in the months after the couple separated, but she notes her estranged husband was living of the basement of their home, and that her 17-year-old daughter was watching her younger siblings.
It's not clear from the filing whether at the time of the hearing Nugent was aware Rachel Nugent was involved with Sens. The lawsuit states the telltale card was delivered to Rachel Nugent in April 2014.
In deposition testimony in his own divorce case, Sens said he had not had sex with anyone other than his wife prior to April 20, 2014, the lawsuit states. The Nugents' hearing was on April 23.
Sens did not immediately return calls from NOLA.com | The Times-Picayune.
The New Orleans Advocate had the story of domestic violence charges against the judge's ex-wife.
Louisiana Attorney General Jeff Landry’s office last month dropped all charges against the ex-wife of Orleans Parish Municipal Court Judge Paul Sens, who was accused of biting him on his arm during a fight the day after she filed for divorce in 2014.
Prosecutors had charged Ann Sens, 57, with domestic abuse battery and disturbing the peace after the May 2, 2014, scuffle inside the couple’s Lakeview home.
But after two years of legal twists and turns, including the recusal of Orleans Parish District Attorney Leon Cannizzaro, the case ended with a June 30 letter from the Attorney General’s Office dismissing the charges.
More from the Advocate here. Mike Frisch)