These lawyers were the subject of Louisiana Supreme Court disciplinary orders or Louisiana Attorney Disciplinary Board recommendations that were made public during the month of September 2016.
Louisiana Supreme Court
- Harold Louis Lee. The respondent was suspended from the practice of law on an interim basis.
- William F. Henderson. The respondent was denied readmission to the practice of law and prohibitted from reapplying for two years. Apparently, he served as a paralegal while disbarred, which is prohibited by the Louisiana Rules of Professional Conduct.
- Thomas G. Wilkinson. The respondent’s petition for reinstatement to the practice of law was granted with a two-year probationary period. The respondent completed a three-year period of suspension, which the court imposed for accepting payment of an improper “referral fee,” and for a federal criminal conviction (conspiracy to commit misprision of felony).
- Jose W. Vega. The respondent was disbarred reciprocally after his resignation from the Texas State Bar Association. There were multiple allegations of misconduct against the respondent, including the following: failure to return unearned fees, and failure to cooperate with an investigation by the Chief Disciplinary Counsel of the State Bar of Texas on multiple occasions. Prior to his disbarment, the respondent was ineligible to practice law in Louisiana for failing to pay bar dues and the disciplinary assessment, failing to fulfill mandatory continuing legal education requirements, and failing to file a trust account disclosure statement.
- Howard L. Marcello. The respondent and ODC filed a Joint Motion to Extend Probation due to the respondent’s chemical dependency. The court extended the probation an additional five-years with the following additional requirements: individual therapy, heightened random drug testing, and return to a rehabilitation facility for a one-week recheck after six months.
- Joseph N. Mole. The respondent was suspended from the practice of law for one-year, with all but 6-months deferred. In a petition for consent discipline, the respondent admitted that he engaged in conduct that was prejudicial to the administration of justice and implied an ability to improperly influence a judge. In 1996, Mr. Mole represented a client in a case pending before then United States District Judge G. Thomas Porteous, Jr. In an effort to force Judge Porteous’s recusal, Mr. Mole retained as co-counsel Jefferson Parish lawyer Don C. Gardner, a close friend of Judge Porteous. Mr. Gardner had “nothing of substance to offer” other than his friendship to Porteous, and was to receive a $100,000 “severance fee” if Porteous was recused.
- Dana Annette Bolton. The respondent was suspended from the practice of law for one-year and one-day, with all but 6-months deferred and ordered to pay restitution. The ODC alleged that the respondent neglected a legal matter, failed to communicate with a client, failed to timely refund court costs and return an original will to a client, and failed to remit funds to third-party medical providers.
Louisiana Attorney Disciplinary Board
- Joseph C. Miciotto. The respondent converted client funds to gamble at Shreveport casinos. He self-reported his misconduct to the ODC, and made full restitution. The Board recommended that he be suspended from the practice of law for a period of one-year and one-day, all deferred, subject to probation during which he must continue gambling treatment and work under the supervision of another lawyer.
Louisiana Attorney Disciplinary Board Hearing Committees
- Richard R. Fisher. Hearing Committee #60 recommended that the respondent be publicly reprimanded for commingling personal funds with those of a client.
- Toby James Aucoin. Hearing Committee #14 recommended that the respondent be suspended from the practice of law for a period of one-year and one-day and to pay restitution. The formal charges alleged that the respondent failed to have the client’s criminal record expunged after being paid. Further, the respondent failed to communicate and to update the client as to the expungement matter.
- James E. Moorman III. Hearing Committee #62 recommended that the respondent be suspended from the practice of law for a period of three years. The respondent acknowledged misconduct as to 10 of 11 charges; the committee found no misconduct on the final charge. The charges stipulated to by the respondent include: failing to return unearned fees, neglecting client legal matters, failing to supervise non-lawyer staff, and engaging in conduct prejudicial to the administration of justice. The committee found that significant mitigating factors called for suspension rather than disbarment.
- Kenneth M. Waguespack Jr. Hearing Committee #42 recommended that the respondent be permanently disbarred from the practice of law. The respondent did not respond to the formal charges alleging that he overdrew IOLTA accounts, failed to pay for third-party medical services for clients, and converted funds intended for other parties in a lawsuit.
- Michael A. Betts. Hearing Committee #2 recommended that the respondent be publicly reprimanded for failure to communicate with a client.
- Louise Ann Klaila. Hearing Committee #33 recommended that the respondent be suspended from the practice of law for one-year, with all but one-month deferred. The committee found that the respondent negligently commingled and converted funds in a client trust account.