History will record Slabbed was there first with the most with our original post on this topic almost one month ago. You folks from Baton Rouge should not take comfort in the fact that your paper did not have the guts to report this after Lewis Unglesby did what he does best in showing his fanny to the powers that be. There are reasons the public does not trust the media.
The Baton Rouge Business Report has the story (second one down) including a quote from Lyman Thornton, a fine lawyer that is now first assistant U.S. attorney in Baton Rouge. Here at Slabbed we trust Mr Thornton to pursue the interest of justice in this matter.
The Baton Rouge legal community is abuzz since attorney Donna Grodner alleged that ad hoc judge L. J. Hymel and attorney Lewis Unglesby engaged in ex parte communication, which ultimately led the former to recuse himself from class action litigation in January. Ex parte communications are conversations made without the knowledge of all involved parties in a legal matter. The alleged conversation was heard via telephone in a case of “pocket dialing”: A phone call was unintentionally made to Grodner from attorney Ralph Fletcher’s cell phone moments before the alleged conversation took place. Grodner says she reported the incident to the proper authorities, but the U.S. Attorney’s office would not confirm or deny any investigation is ongoing. “We receive information from the public on a regular basis,” says Lyman Thornton, first assistant U.S. attorney. “Once we receive that information, we do not comment or speculate on any future action.”
Hymel recused himself from the case after receiving a fax from Grodner stating she had overheard and recorded the conversation. Charles Talley, a partner at Kean Miller, says Grodner may have violated state recording laws when she made a recording of the call without permission from either party having the conversation. Louisiana law requires that only one party to a communication must consent to recording, but a third party is forbidden to record a conversation without the prior permission of the conversing parties should they have a reasonable expectation of privacy, as in most cases
I’m not a lawyer as is Mr Talley but I don’t think the prohibition on recording conversations extends to illegal acts. Maybe one of our Louisiana commenters can shed some light on this.