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In re Lamb

Supreme Court of Louisiana

November 19, 2019

IN RE: AUDREY MELISSA LAMB

          ATTORNEY DISCIPLINARY PROCEEDING

          PER CURIAM

         This disciplinary matter arises from formal charges filed by the Office of Disciplinary Counsel ("ODC") against respondent, Audrey Melissa Lamb, an attorney licensed to practice law in Louisiana.

         UNDERLYING FACTS

         On September 8, 2017, respondent was involved in an automobile accident as she drove west on Perkins Road in Baton Rouge. A witness saw respondent's vehicle cross the center line and veer into oncoming traffic, drive onto private property, strike a parked, unoccupied vehicle, and then come to rest in a ditch. The police officers who responded to the scene detected an odor of alcohol on respondent and placed her under arrest after she failed a field sobriety test.

         Subsequent investigation revealed that respondent was in possession of a small amount of marijuana, a .38 caliber revolver, and $19, 880 in cash. She was booked with DWI, reckless operation of a motor vehicle, failure to maintain control, and simple possession of marijuana.[1] Testing revealed that respondent's blood alcohol level was .144g%, nearly twice the legal limit in Louisiana.

         Respondent is enrolled in a one-year pretrial diversion program and will have successfully completed the requirements of the program by September 2019. Furthermore, she consulted the Judges and Lawyers Assistance Program ("JLAP") for an evaluation, the results of which indicated that she does not suffer from a substance use disorder. Accordingly, JLAP made no recommendations for further testing or treatment.

         DISCIPLINARY PROCEEDINGS

         In June 2018, the Baton Rouge City Prosecutor's Office notified the ODC of respondent's arrest. In February 2019, the ODC filed formal charges against respondent, alleging that her 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.

         In her answer, respondent admitted that she was arrested and charged as set forth in the formal charges. However, she maintained the incident was a one-time occurrence and an "accumulation of personal matters that had overwhelmed her." Respondent stated that she has been sober since her arrest, citing her successful completion of a substance use education program and random drug tests and submission to an interlock device on her vehicle that yielded no infractions. She also noted that the marijuana in her possession at the time of her arrest was a small amount for her personal use, and that the firearm and cash in her vehicle were returned to her by the police.

         Mitigation Hearing

         Given respondent's admission to the formal charges, the matter then proceeded to a hearing in mitigation, which was conducted by the hearing committee on June 18, 2019. The ODC called Officer Chase Ard, Officer Ebony Walker, and Captain Keith Wilson of the Baton Rouge Police Department to testify in person at the hearing. Respondent testified on her own behalf and on cross-examination by the ODC.

         Testimony of Officer Walker

         Officer Walker was dispatched to the accident scene on Perkins Road involving respondent. She testified that respondent appeared to be intoxicated so she contacted Officer Ard for assistance, due to his experience with DWI stops. A witness at the scene reported that respondent's vehicle had veered into oncoming traffic, hit a parked vehicle, and come ...


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