Wednesday, December 5, 2018
A bar discipline recommendation from the Louisiana Attorney Discipline Board for a fully stayed 18 months suspension
By way of history, the Respondent was arrested on February 23, 1993 with regard to allegations of disturbing the peace and obscenity. Records no longer exist regarding the arrest or outcome. On April 28, 2001, the Respondent was arrested for interfering with the police and "public nudity" in connection with Mardi Gras festivities. He consumed alcohol and was apparently in a state of undress on the back of a pickup truck. On October 3, 2002, the Respondent was arrested and charged with operating a vehicle while intoxicated, reckless operation of a motor vehicle, hit and run driving, and failure to use a seatbelt. The Respondent was allowed to plead guilty to a reduced charge of reckless operation of a vehicle under the provisions of Article 894. On March 8, 2003, the Respondent was again arrested and charged with operating a vehicle while intoxicated and exceeding the speed limit. Once again, the Respondent was permitted to enter a guilty plea to a reduced charge under the provisions of Code of Criminal Procedure Article 894.
On June 28, 2003, the Respondent was arrested and charged with simple battery. The incident stemmed from an argument with his girlfriend/wife at their apartment. The matter was ultimately dismissed without prosecution. None of the above enumerated or outlined incidents were ever reported to the Office of Disciplinary Counsel by either the Respondent himself or by any prosecuting authority in the State of Louisiana.
He was admitted to practice in 1996.
But eventually he got the Bar's attention
On November 4, 2013, the Respondent consumed wine with dinner and later took a 10 mg. Ambien "to help him sleep." He continued to drink wine thereafter and estimates that he drank about two bottles of red wine that evening. At some point the Respondent entered his vehicle and drove while in an intoxicated state crashing into a tree. Emergency medical services were called as he sustained a blow to his head when he impacted the windshield. He was taken to the emergency room where a c-collar was placed on him for his safety. The Respondent reportedly removed the c-collar and when a nurse attempted to restrain him and put the collar back on, he bit the nurse leading to a charge of battery. His blood alcohol level at the time registered .2, two and a half times the legal limit. Following his arrest and release, on the next day, November 5, 2013, the Respondent consumed wine yet again. Once again he took a 10 mg. Ambien and blacked out. He once again entered his vehicle and commenced driving and went to a local service station to purchase beer. The Respondent was arrested after driving erratically. Breathalyzer reports came back with a blood alcohol content of .151, nearly twice the legal limit. It is only after these two final incidents in successive days that the matter was reported to the Office of Disciplinary Counsel by the prosecuting authority.
After careful consideration, the Board recommends that an eighteen-month suspension, fully deferred, subject to five years of probation with JLAP conditions, be imposed upon the Respondent. This sanction is appropriate given Respondent's assault of the emergency room nurse, as well as his other alcohol and Ambien-related misconduct. This sanction also serves to encourage Respondent's commitment towards recovery, while at the same time protecting the public by providing a mechanism to remove the Respondent from practice if he relapses into substance abuse in the future.