Tuesday, October 9, 2018

Recovery Impacts On Recommended Sanction

The Louisiana Attorney Disciplinary Board proposes a stayed year and a day suspension of an attorney who had used entrusted funds for personal purposes.

The reason from the hearing committee

The evidence supports the conclusion you intentionally utilized funds from your trust account to support your addition [sic] to prescription pain medications; specifically, OxyContin. You have since submitted to a 90-day inpatient treatment program and have executed a five-year recovery agreement with the Judges’ and Lawyers’ Assistance Program.

The attorney is required to participate in the JLAP program as told by the hearing committee

After an attorney he worked with died of a heroin overdose, and during the time he was under investigation by the ODC, Respondent entered an inpatient drug rehabilitation facility, Palmetto Addiction Recovery Center, where he resided for 95 days. He signed a Recovery Agreement in which he agreed to forego drug or alcohol use (Tr. p. 55). After being discharged from the drug rehab facility he voluntarily agreed to taking drug tests, and has had 24 such drug tests at Affinity Health facility (Tr. pp. 87-88) He has also regularly attended Alcoholics Anonymous meeting at the John Calvin Presbyterian Church. He continues to be a regular participant in AA, and testified that he had not drunk alcohol or used drugs since he left the inpatient facility (Tr. pp. 51-55).

J.E. Buddy Stockwell, III, Executive Director of Judges and Lawyers Assistance Program also testified. He first met Respondent in March, 2016, and found him to be “so open”, that he “badly wanted help” (Tr. p. 75). Respondent signed a five year monitoring agreement, and also agreed to go to 90 Alcoholics Anonymous meetings in the first 90 days after his inpatient discharge which he did. (Tr. p. 77). The multiple drug tests that he has taken following his discharge have all been negative (Tr. pp. 87-88). Mr. Stockwell testified that he did not “have any concerns” currently about Respondent relapsing. (Tr. p. 94).

The misconduct came to light when a trust account $600 check bounced. (Mike Frisch)


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