The preliminary hearing — the first of a three-phase process that ultimately will be decided by the state Supreme Court — stems from formal charges filed Sept. 7 in Haney’s private representation of Stephanie Provost, who was injured in May 2007 after she fell from a tube being pulled by a boat in Iberia Parish.
The driver of the boat, Shane Roberts, who was identified Tuesday as Provost’s boyfriend, was issued a citation by the state Wildlife and Fisheries on misdemeanor counts of reckless operation of a watercraft and no waterskiing observer.
Haney, who was the only witness called to the stand Tuesday, testified that he and his office staff were unaware of those violations when he agreed to represent Provost in June 2007 on a contingency fee basis to recover damages from Roberts’ insurance company.
Archive for the ‘State Supreme Court’ Category
Sixteenth Judicial District Attorney Phil Haney, the first sitting district attorney to ever face charges of ethical misconduct by the Office of Disciplinary Counsel, testified on his own behalf Tuesday morning at a preliminary “fact-finding” hearing held at the Lafayette Parish Courthouse.
The hearing Tuesday is the first of three phases related to Haney’s ethics charges. Information from the hearing will be forwarded to the Louisiana Attorney Disciplinary Board, which will issue a public report that then goes to the Louisiana Supreme Court for a final decision.
As first reported here at Lincoln Parish News Online (LPNO).
From KATC3-TV, Lafayette
Unreasonable and unearned “bonuses” for personal health insurance not legitimately related to function of the District Attorney’s office and/or public payroll fraud.
Abuse of office by compelling/coercing “political activity” constituting public payroll fraud and malfeasance.
Ignored conflicts of interest in the performance of Iberia Parish risk management legal services – a pattern of practice in ethics abuse constituting malfeasance in office.
Conflicts of interest – improper communications and continued involvement after recusal of District Attorney’s office in violation of the open meetings law.
See here the document.
See here earlier reporting on the controversy.
A hearing is now scheduled for next Tuesday, February 28.
See here additional reporting.
Lincoln Parish News Online (LPNO) has obtained copies of the formal charges by the Louisiana Attorney Disciplinary Board’s (LADB) Office of Disciplinary Counsel (ODC) against Sixteenth Judicial (Iberia, St. Mary, St. Martin parishes) District Attorney Phil Haney, and his answer to those charges.
See here the documents.
Sixteenth Judicial (Iberia, St. Mary, St. Martin parishes) District Attorney Phil Haney was charged last month with conflict of interest by the Office of Disciplinary Counsel (ODC), the Louisiana State Supreme Court’s (LASC) body that oversees and disciplines Louisiana lawyers.
See here the news story in the The (New Iberia) Daily Iberian.
The charges stem from an ethical misconduct complaint filed by then Senator Troy Hebert on May 20, 2010 and, in particular, Haney’s representation of Stephanie Provost who was the victim in a boating accident that resulted in criminal charges being filed by DA Haney against Shane Roberts, the boat’s operator. Haney then represented Provost against Roberts in the civil case and settled the matter for $100,000 while using the DA’s office as his private office thereby using public resources for private gain.
Reportedly, the complaint against Haney make him the first District Attorney in Louisiana to face formal charges by the Office of Disciplinary Counsel.
See here earlier reporting on the case.
We received this email earlier today concerning a Louisiana Supreme Court Office of Disciplinary Council (ODC) complaint filed a year ago against Sixteenth Judicial (Iberia, St. Mary, St. Martin parishes) District Attorney Phil Haney by then Louisiana State Senator Troy Hebert.
News from Iberia Parish was made this week as it was made public that former State Senator Troy Hebert filed a complaint with the Louisiana Supreme Court’s Office of Disciplinary Counsel against 16th Judicial District Attorney Phil Haney. It’s been a year since the complaint was filed and ODC appears to be dragging its feet on any ruling. Hebert now serves in Governor Jindal’s cabinet as Commissioner of Alcohol and Tobacco. The 16th JDC is made up of Iberia, St. Martin and St. Mary parishes.
If disbarred, Haney will become the first district attorney in Louisiana history to receive such a sanction. Of greater significance is how the Louisiana Supreme Court and Office of Disciplinary Counsel deals with the pending charges since the outcome effects how the statewide public deals with lawyers and high ranking elected officials. Whether the Louisiana Supreme Court and ODC are complicit in continued corruption in Louisiana remains to be seen. Many citizens and lawyers have complained about serial selective prosecution that subverts the very system put in place to stem the tide of corrupt practices in the legal field often saying “It’s not what you know. It’s who you know.”
A story by Holly Leleux-Thubron ran in the May 29, 2011 of edition of The Daily Iberian detailing the complaint filed by Hebert, Haney’s response and Hebert’s reply. Allegations made against Haney include conflicts of interest with regards to cases his office is handling, perjury and other illegal or improper acts. That these charges were raised by a sitting senator and now the head of a state agency elevate them above the rantings by some average citizen. A copy of the article and all documents filed with the Office of Disciplinary Counsel are included for your review. (If you read no other document attached to this email, it is suggested that you read the Hebert ODC reply of August 30, 2010 because it simply rebuts Haney’s explanations with documentary proof).
In addition to every Louisiana Press Association newspaper, major market television station, local radio stations and political bloggers, this email has been carbon copied to the Louisiana Supreme Court and ODC as well as many lawyer board members of ODC. Perhaps they can clarify what steps have been taken against Haney in light of Louisiana Supreme Court Rule XIX, Sect. 16(A)(4) which says that the proceedings are no longer confidential once the allegations become generally known to the public. Also included in this email are law professors from LSU, Tulane, Loyola and Southern who teach legal ethics. Their insight would be welcomed too. Who knows, maybe next semester they’ll present a case study of “The Phil Haney Defense: How to break the Rules of Professional Conduct and get away with it.”
For your convenience contact information for Haney, the Louisiana Supreme Court and ODC and its board members contact information is included.
Holly Leleux-Thubron: (337) 321-3196 (cell); (337) 321-6730 (work); firstname.lastname@example.org
Phil Haney: (337) 519-1577 (cell); (337) 369-4420 (work); email@example.com
Louisiana Supreme Court: (504) 310-2488
Office of Disciplinary Counsel
Chief Counsel Charles Plattsmier: (225) 293-3900
ODC Board Chair, William Aaron: (504) 569-1807
ODC Board Vice-Chair Dow Edwards: (504) 310-2205; firstname.lastname@example.org
ODC Board Member Carl Butler: (504) 828-1010; email@example.com
ODC Board Member Stephen Chiccarelli: (225) 381-7044; firstname.lastname@example.org
ODC Board Member John Cox: (318) 221-6858
ODC Board Member Jamie Fontenot: (225) 749-3242; email@example.com
ODC Board Member Lila Hogan: (985) 542-7730; firstname.lastname@example.org
ODC Board Member Edwin Pries: (337) 237-6062
ODC Board Member Lewis Smith (public member): (318) 861-7600
ODC Board Member Robert Tew: (318) 387-8339
See here the 5/29/11 news article from the Daily Iberian.
See here the document.
Some of the larger expenditures were:
Market Research Insight – $18,000 – Polling
Fletcher Consultants, LLC – $47,500 – Advertising
Pickett and Company – $28,745 – Accounting and management services
Here is the FEC website with all of Traylor’s reports.
The complaint alleges professional misconduct, failure to display candor to the tribunal, and lack of fairness to opposing party and counsel. It was filed last month by Noble Ellington III and Ryan Ellington. The two are involved in a succession (inheritance) dispute over the estate of their late mother, who was Traylor’s wife.
According to sources, Charles Plattsmier, Chief Disciplinary Counsel of the Louisiana Attorney Disciplinary Board’s Office of Disciplinary Counsel (ODC), will travel to North Louisiana within the next month to take sworn depositions from individuals connected to the case.
It is significant that Plattsmier himself will take the depositions, rather than dispatching attorneys from his staff who normally would do such tasks.
See here the archive of news stories about Traylor.
Six weeks ago the ink was flowing about what a serious challenge retired State Supreme Court Justice Chet Traylor would be to incumbent U. S. Senator David Vitter. This morning the political pundits awoke from their wet dream to the reality that Vitter won the GOP primary with 88% of the vote.
Some of the more fanciful predictions from six weeks ago:
Chet Traylor’s decision to qualify for the Aug. 28 Republican primary election gave Louisiana Republicans a viable alternative to U.S. Sen. David Vitter. Scarred by his own indiscretions and those of a trusted aide, Vitter is vulnerable in the eyes of some Republicans, including some well-heeled businessmen.
Bradley Beychok, campaign manager for Melancon, said he was pleasantly surprised there was a “viable challenger at the last minute” in the Louisiana Senate Republican primary. “We look forward to our primary on Aug. 28, and certainly Sen. Vitter has a very competitive primary with a very respected Republican on the same day,” Beychok said.
Talk about Republican Sen. David Vitter’s worst political nightmare — a surprise challenger with all the right conservative credentials and none of the baggage of the incumbent’s prostitution scandal.
One pundit who got it right was DC based Stu Rothenberg who actually went to the trouble to do some real research before opining.
Reporters like to write about Vitter because it gives them the opportunity each time to detail his juicy past problems, but until there is evidence that Traylor is making headway in his uphill bid, the Republican primary isn’t much of a story.
Lincoln Parish News Online readers will recall our small part in this story. We were interviewed by now-disgraced political reporter Shira Toeplitz of Politico.com. What she didn’t report was the graveyard of skeletons in Traylor’s closet – skeletons that she knew about but chose not to report.