Louisiana Supreme Court - 400 Royal St., New Orleans, LA 70130 | Tel: 504-310-2300 Hon. Bernette J. Johnson. Chief Justice.  John Tarlton Olivier., Clerk of Court.  Sandra A. Vujnovich. Judicial Administrator
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2001 Press Releases

CONTACT PERSON: VALERIE WILLARD
PUBLIC INFORMATION OFFICER
(504) 599-0319

  JULY 19, 2001

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

In its continuing efforts to improve the lawyer disciplinary system, Chief Justice Pascal F. Calogero, Jr. announced today that the Louisiana Supreme Court has adopted rule changes to codify the Court's authority to disbar lawyers permanently from the practice of law. The Court's present rules allow all disbarred lawyers to apply for readmission to the practice of law five years after their disbarment. Such readmission is at the Court's discretion and is based upon strict criteria enumerated in the Court's rules. Under the amendments adopted today, an attorney guilty of egregious misconduct may be permanently disbarred at the outset and will thereafter be prohibited from applying for readmission to the bar. The rule changes become effective August 1, 2001.

The Court's action was prompted in part by recommendations of a Court-appointed study Committee which recommended that the Court adopt rule changes to provide for permanent disbarment. The Committee also recommended guidelines to illustrate the "types of conduct which might warrant permanent disbarment." The guidelines, which will be attached as an appendix to the lawyer discipline rules, are not binding upon the Supreme Court and were suggested by the Committee to "provide useful information to the public and to lawyers concerning the types of conduct the Court might consider to be worthy of permanent disbarment." The nine guidelines are as follows:

  • GUIDELINE 1: Repeated or multiple instances of intentional conversion of client funds with substantial harm.
  • GUIDELINE 2: Intentional corruption of the judicial process, including but not limited to bribery, perjury, and subornation of perjury.
  • GUIDELINE 3: An intentional homicide conviction.
  • GUIDELINE 4: Sexual misconduct which results in a felony conviction, such as rape or child molestation.
  • GUIDELINE 5: Conviction of a felony involving physical coercion or substantial damage to person or property, including but not limited to armed robbery, arson, or kidnapping.
  • GUIDELINE 6: Insurance fraud, including but not limited to staged accidents or widespread runner-based solicitation.
  • GUIDELINE 7: Malfeasance in office which results in a felony conviction, and which involves fraud.
  • GUIDELINE 8: Following notice, engaging in the unauthorized practice of law subsequent to resigning from the Bar Association, or during the period of time in which the lawyer is suspended from the practice of law or disbarred.
  • GUIDELINE 9: Instances of serious attorney misconduct or conviction of a serious crime, when the misconduct or conviction is preceded by suspension or disbarment for prior instances of serious attorney misconduct or conviction of a serious crime. Serious crime is defined in Rule XIX, Section 19. Serious attorney misconduct is defined for the purposes of these guidelines as any misconduct which results in a suspension of more than one year.

Serving on the Committee were: Justice Catherine D. "Kitty" Kimball (Co-Chair); Justice Jeannette T. Knoll (Co-Chair); Father M. Jeffery Bayhi; John G. Beckwith, Sr.; Ashley L. Belleau; Kim M. Boyle; Catherine G. Brame; Melissia A. Buckhalter; A. Edward Hardin; T. Haller Jackson, III; Ann E. Lowrey; Michael W. McKay; Alex W. Rankin; Thomas W. Sanders; and John G. Swift.

The Louisiana State Bar Association House of Delegates has previously expressed support for the concept of permanent disbarment.

 

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