|FOR IMMEDIATE NEWS RELEASE
|FROM: CLERK OF SUPREME COURT OF LOUISIANA
The Opinions handed down on the 14th day of February, 2018, are as follows:
2017-KK-1451 STATE OF LOUISIANA v. DANNY P. BATTAGLIA (Parish of St. Mary)
The Louisiana Constitution gives the District Attorney “charge of every criminal prosecution by the state in his district, . . . .” La. Const. art. 5, § 26. Code of Criminal Procedure art. 680 provides mandatory grounds for recusal of the District Attorney. While the District Attorney contends that he acted within his discretion under Code of Criminal Procedure art. 681 to recuse himself voluntarily, we note that cases abound in which courts have found that “[a]n appearance of bias and prejudice is not sufficient to warrant the granting of a motion to recuse [the District Attorney].” See, e.g., State v. Ellis, 13-1401, pp. 26–27 (La. App. 4 Cir. 2/4/15), 161 So.3d 64, 80. To resolve the present case, we find it unnecessary to examine further any interplay between these two articles or to consider the extent of the District Attorney’s discretion to recuse himself voluntarily. There is no support for the district court’s determination that public confidence in the proceedings is risked under the circumstances here in which a former public defender, who had no involvement with Battaglia and whose conflict is speculative, is employed by the District Attorney but otherwise uninvolved in Battaglia’s Miller hearing. Therefore, we vacate the district court’s ruling granting the District Attorney’s motion to recuse and remand for further proceedings. REVERSED AND REMANDED.
WEIMER, J., additionally concurs and assigns reasons.
CRICHTON, J., additionally concurs and assigns reasons.
2017-B-1547 IN RE: HAROLD D. REGISTER
Upon review of the findings and recommendations of the hearing committee and disciplinary board, and considering the record and the brief filed by the ODC, it is ordered that Harold D. Register, Louisiana Bar Roll number 16764, be and he hereby is disbarred, retroactive to April 27, 2017, the date of his interim suspension. His name shall be stricken from the roll of attorneys and his license to practice law in the State of Louisiana shall be revoked. It is further ordered that respondent shall make restitution to LeDerian LeDay and to the third parties with an interest in his personal injury settlement, and shall pay the remaining funds owed to Dianne Glaude pursuant to their March 20, 2015 settlement agreement. All costs and expenses in the matter are assessed against respondent in accordance with Supreme Court Rule XIX, § 10.1, with legal interest to commence thirty days from the date of finality of this court’s judgment until paid.
JOHNSON, C.J., dissents and assigns reasons.
HUGHES, J., dissents for the reasons assigned by Johnson, C.J.