Iberia DA Update

DA’s conflict of interest case under examination

NEW ORLEANS — A disciplinary board is examining whether a district attorney in Louisiana should be punished for representing a woman in his private practice after charges were brought against her in a boating accident — an alleged conflict of interest.

On Thursday, the Louisiana Attorney Disciplinary Board heard a case that has dogged J. Phil Haney, the district attorney for Iberia, St. Mary and St. Martin parishes.

In Louisiana, many parishes allow their district attorneys and assistant district attorneys to run a private law practice and prosecute cases on the public’s behalf, just as Haney did.

In September 2011, Haney was accused by the Office of Disciplinary Counsel, a body that investigates misconduct by lawyers, of violating rules of professional conduct.

The board did not make a ruling Thursday. The state high court will have the final say. Lawyers facing disciplinary charges can be slapped with a public reprimand, probation and suspension. They also can be disbarred for serious violations.

At the hearing, G. Fred Ours, a deputy with the Office of Disciplinary Counsel, said Haney should have stopped representing Stephanie Provost after he found out that the Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries had filed charges.

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