Louisiana Attorney Sanctioned for Reckless Criticism of Trial Court Judge

In Legal Ethics & Professionalism by gravierhouse3 Comments

An attorney seeking writs from the Louisiana Supreme Court regarding the refusal of a district court to recuse itself in a family law matter accused the trial court judge of manipulating the transcript and the court of appeal of a cover up.  Sanctioning the attorney for a year and a day (with all but six months suspended), a divided Louisiana Supreme Court found a violation of Rule 8.2(a):

“Respondent relies heavily on the purportedly corrupted audio tape from the Hunter hearing as providing support for her assertions of incompetence and corruption of the legal profession. We acknowledge there is evidence in the record of these disciplinary proceedings indicating that the court reporter’s tapes may have been spliced as a result of a malfunction of the court reporter’s machine. However, we see no evidentiary support for respondent’s implication that Judge Keaty or any person, either through incompetence or corrupt intent, added substantive statements to the official transcript which were not contained in the original hearing. Ordinary experience suggests that equipment can often malfunction without any underlying incompetence or intentional corruption. Thus, in the absence of any objective supporting evidence, respondent acted with a reckless disregard for the truth when she referred to ‘incompetence and/or corruption’ of the members of the legal profession in pleadings filed in this court.

“Even more disturbing is respondent’s statement that the court of appeal ‘wants to cover up the egregious actions of the trial court so it cannot be used in the current election.’ Through the testimony of the judges of the court of appeal panel, the ODC proved this statement was objectively false. Respondent points to no evidentiary support whatsoever for her contention that the judges of the court of appeal intentionally altered their judgment to protect Judge Keaty. Regardless of the genuineness of respondent’s belief, the objective facts in the record support the conclusion this statement was made with either knowledge of its falsity or reckless disregard for the truth.”

 

In re Mire, No.2015-1453 (La. 2/19/2016).

 

 

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