The Office of Disciplinary Counsel, in a brief filed Feb. 14, is requesting the Louisiana Supreme Court reconsider recommendations from the state Attorney Disciplinary Board and a volunteer hearing committee that the ethics charges filed against 16th Judicial District Attorney Phil Haney be dropped.
ODC’s charges stem from a complaint filed by former state Sen. Troy Hebert, a longtime nemesis of Haney’s who now heads the state
Office of Alcohol and Tobacco Control.
The issue centers on Haney’s private representation of Stephanie Provost in a 2007 civil case. Provost was injured in a boating accident, which resulted in charges being filed by the state Department of Wildlife and Fisheries against her then-boyfriend. Haney, who claims he was originally unaware of the charges, eventually recused his office from prosecuting the boyfriend, but continued in his capacity as Provost’s attorney in the civil matter, which ultimately resulted in him receiving a contingency fee of $20,000.
ODC’s argument centers on a 2007 ethics advisory opinion, which reads that “in the event the conflict of interest arises after the civil representation is undertaken, the prosecutor should withdraw from the matter in all respects.”
Charles Plattsmier, ODC’s chief disciplinary counsel, tells The IND that the brief filed last month is no guarantee the supreme court will take up the matter.
“It’s basically up to them whether they’ll grant our rejection or not,” says Plattsmier. “There’s no particular time-frame in which the court has to act either. It could be a couple of weeks or it could be longer.”