Wednesday, July 29, 2020
A recent report of a Louisiana Hearing Committee raises a potentially significant issue of bar discipline enforcement.
The case involves an attorney (previously suspended for a year and a day) who was arrested and charged with driving while intoxicated in 2017.
She successfully completed a program of pretrial intervention and the criminal matter was resolved without a conviction.
She timely reported the arrest to the Office of Disciplinary Counsel and was directed to contact the Judges and Lawyers Assistance Program ("JLAP") to arrange for a "professional independent substance abuse evaluation."
The evaluation concluded that she should enroll in an inpatient program to "rule out alcohol use disorder."
The attorney (after over a year of delay) had a three-day inpatient evaluation and was diagnosed as "Alcohol Use Disorder, moderate."
As a result, she was recommended for a five-year JLAP monitoring program and completion of an inpatient treatment program.
Rather than submit, the attorney presented counter evaluations but a second evaluation echoed the previous one, i.e. inpatient treatment and five years of supervision.
The attorney did not accede to JLAP monitoring.
Essentially, the failure to abide with a proposed regime of substance abuse supervision is treated as an aggravating factor in imposing discipline for a single DUI arrest that did not result in a conviction.
I stumbled into this briar patch in twelve years (or more) of litigation that is described here. (Mike Frisch)