Of all the stories we’ve covered on Slabbed the Impeachment of US District Court Judge G Thomas Porteous was some of our most nationally recognized in terms of major news outlets reading us for background and real time information. I mention this because we were harboring no illusions that the disciplinary process for the host of unethical dishonest lawyers that enabled some of Porteous’ most egregious conduct would result in anything other than window dressing and have no consequences that would deter the type of outrageous behavior uncovered by the impeachment proceedings. Today I hate to see our low expectations were probably not set low enough as Drew Broach at the Times Picayune breaks the news that lawyer Claude Lightfoot, the guy who falsified a bankruptcy petition for Porteous and his wife, has been suspended for a one month for his role in corrupting the legal process.
Those so interested can read the opinion at the LADB website here. To justify giving Lightfoot the wet noodle they had to concoct an excuse and it appears the fact Mrs pOrteous boo hooed in front of Claude was enough justification for a 20 year veteran lawyer to completely abandon his sense of ethics as far as the LADB was concerned:
Although not mentioned by the Committee, the record supports substantial experience in the practice of law as the sole aggravating factor in this matter. The Committee declined to include the additional aggravating factors put forth by ODC of (a) a dishonest and selfish motive; and (b) a pattern of misconduct. The Board likewise does not find these two aggravating factors as (a) the record reflects that Respondents misguided effort to help his clients was motivated by compassion for his clients; there is nothing in the record that supports he was motivated by selfish reasons or dishonest reasons; and (b) the record makes it clear that Respondents misconduct in this matter is a single blemish on an otherwise reputable and meaningful 24 year law career.
Respondent’s desire to assist them avoid the negative publicity and embarrassment which would have been generated by the Times Picayune publication of their bankruptcy filing appears to have arisen from his client attorney meetings with the Porteous’ where both, but in particular Carmella Porteous, was clearly distraught.
In Lightfoot’s case it is true that the public was not hosed except to the extent he assisted a client in committing Bankruptcy Fraud thus destroying even more public confidence in a corrupt judiciary and the legal profession. I can’t wait to see how the committee justifies letting Dick Chopin skate. I guess Chopin and Porteous’ victim in that miscarriage of justice, Ida and Ronnie Turner will just have to suck it and be happy. File this one under the Louisiana Attorney Disciplinary Board looking out for their own.