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In re Martin

Supreme Court of Louisiana

September 21, 2018

IN RE: SHELLEY ANN MARTIN

         ATTORNEY DISCIPLINARY PROCEEDING

          PER CURIAM.

         This disciplinary matter arises from formal charges filed by the Office of Disciplinary Counsel ("ODC") against respondent, Shelley Ann Martin, an attorney licensed to practice law in Louisiana but currently on interim suspension for threat of harm to the public. In re: Martin, 12-0328 (La. 2/7/12), 82 So.3d 1232.

         FORMAL CHARGES

         Count I

         On September 28, 2009, New Orleans police, while responding to a report of suspicious activity, observed respondent exiting a vehicle with a needle sticking out of her forearm and blood trickling down her arm. After taking possession of the needle and questioning respondent, she acknowledged the presence of additional drug paraphernalia in a bag located under the vehicle's seat. This drug paraphernalia included additional needles, a lighter, a "coppertop" that had been burned on the bottom, and an elastic band that the police confirmed is associated with heroin use.

         After respondent's arrest and arraignment for possession with intent to use drug paraphernalia in violation of La. R.S. 40:1033, she was released on bond. Respondent subsequently failed to appear in court for trial, which resulted in a bench warrant for her arrest. The district attorney's office eventually dismissed the charges against respondent when they became stale after not locating her.

         The ODC alleged that respondent's conduct violated Rules 8.4(a) (violation of the Rules of Professional Conduct) and 8.4(b) (commission of a criminal act that reflects adversely on the lawyer's honesty, trustworthiness, or fitness as a lawyer) of the Rules of Professional Conduct.

         Count II

         Respondent represented M.S and her husband W.S in connection with their corporate farming enterprise and business. During the representation, respondent commenced a sexual relationship with W.S. and introduced him to the drug culture in which she was engaged. Respondent's conduct with W.S. resulted in the acrimonious divorce of M.S. and W.S.

         The ODC alleged that respondent's conduct violated Rules 1.7 (conflict of interest: current clients) and 8.4(a) of the Rules of Professional Conduct.

         Count III

         Respondent has been ineligible to practice law since September 10, 2010 for failing to pay her bar dues and the disciplinary assessment.[1] Additionally, as a result of her conduct in Count I above, respondent was interimly suspended from the practice of law by order of this court effective February 7, 2012. Notwithstanding her status, in December 2011, respondent continued to represent W.S. and his farming enterprise.

         The ODC alleged that respondent's conduct violated Rules 5.5 (engaging in the unauthorized practice of law) and 8.4(a) ...


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