20 May 2007

lawyers behaving badly: richard e "dick" lee

todays required reading from the louisiana attorney disciplinary board website gives us a glimpse into the shenanigans that take place in rapides parish ninth judicial district court.

Count II concerns the "Greer Litigation", another piece of contentious litigation in which RESPONDENT was involved in December 2004. The incident arose during a pre-hearing conference in Judge Ryland's chambers, in which the Court was being briefed by the parties concerning a Title 42 protective order that was docketed for that day. Present in the chamber conference were Judge Ryland, RESPONDENT (counsel for Mrs. Greer), Steven P. Mansour (counsel for Mr. Greer), Lance Maxwell (judge's law clerk), Barbara "Janie" Polk Guinn (judge's minute clerk/secretary), and Susan Delaire (court reporter). (TR., Vol. I, p. 36)

During the conference, Mr. Mansour informed the Court that he intended to file a motion to recuse the judge based on the allegation that RESPONDENT had engaged in ex parte communications with Judge Ryland about the matter. (TR., Vol. I, pp. 34-35). Judge Ryland and Mr. Mansour briefly discussed the merits of Mr. Mansour's motion, after which Judge Ryland agreed to recuse himself. (TR., Vol. I, pp. 34-37)

The judge instructed Mr. Mansour to prepare a recusal order for his signature, and Mr. Mansour left the conference room to promptly do so. At the time Judge Ryland announced that he intended to recuse himself, RESPONDENT had not yet made any comments to the judge. After a brief period of time, Mr. Mansour returned to the conference room and presented the judge with an order for his signature.

As Judge Ryland began to sign the order, RESPONDENT stood up and told Judge Ryland, "[Y]ou have little balls and w[hen] you F-ing get some big balls, let me know."[5] (TR., Vol. I, pp. 39, 117) RESPONDENT then proceeded around the judge's conference table to exit the room. Before doing so, he told Mr. Mansour: "Mansour, you're a no good son of a bitch." (TR., Vol. I, p. 39)

He also called Mr. Mansour a "F-ing Arab." (TR., Vol. I, p. 40) At that point, Ms. Guinn, the judge's minute clerk,[6] admonished RESPONDENT to cease with the abusive and obscene language because "ladies were present" in the room. (TR., Vol. I, p. 40) Having stayed quiet thus far, Judge Ryland then told RESPONDENT that his conduct was "enough." RESPONDENT then told the judge: "I'll F-ing decide when it's enough." RESPONDENT then left the room.[7]

After the conference concluded, Judge Ryland instructed his staff that he did not wish to speak to RESPONDENT should he attempt to call. RESPONDENT called for Judge Ryland later that day, and Ms. Guinn answered the phone. Ms. Guinn informed RESPONDENT that Judge Ryland could not come to the phone. RESPONDENT then told Ms. Guinn to "[k]iss his fucking ass," and then he hung up the phone. (TR., Vol. I, p. 145)
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