NEW ORLEANS – The Louisiana Supreme Court recently suspended a Thibodaux attorney's license after he was arrested in Lafourche Parish for allegedly trying to smuggle contraband into the jail and saying he was there to visit a client even though he had already been barred from practicing law in the state -- twice before.
Edward Duana “Buddy” Schertler was arrested in mid-March and charged with several crimes, including possession of Suboxone, marijuana and drug paraphernalia. Schertler was also charged with possession of stolen property, possession of a firearm with an improper serial number, carrying a weapon in the presence of controlled dangerous substances and taking contraband to a penal institution.
“Most contraband that does come into the facility is the result of assistance by a non-incarcerated third-party," Lafourche Parish Sheriff Craig Webre told the Louisiana Record. "What makes this particular incident most disturbing is the fact that attorneys enjoy greater latitude in interacting with their clients because of the attorney-client privilege and related safeguards in the law."
Schertler allegedly identified himself as a lawyer when he went to the parish jail on March 4 to meet with a client. Officers conducting a routine search of his briefcase sent him home after they allegedly found a bag with numerous cellphones, chargers and tobacco products, all items not allowed in the jail.
After he left, the officers discovered he was not allowed to practice law in the state, so they got a warrant for his arrest on contraband charges, according to the sheriff’s department.
When officers when to Schertler home to arrest him on March 9, they allegedly found 15 firearms—including a .50 caliber rifle with a destroyed serial number. They also allegedly found what they suspected to be marijuana, Suboxone and drug paraphernalia, as well as stolen property.
“I am particularly proud of the efforts of the correctional officers to detect this criminal act and take appropriate action,” Webre said.
The Louisiana Supreme Court had previously ruled on June 1, 2015 that Schertler could not practice law because he hadn't complied with the state's continuing legal education requirements.
The case was re-heard last September, when the board again ruled Schertler ineligible because of unpaid bar and disciplinary dues.
Following his arrest, the board officially issued a temporary suspension of his law license on May 25.
“Not only has Mr. Schertler violated the law, he has also violated the professional and ethical standards of his profession,” Webre said.
The next hearing in Schertler's criminal case is scheduled for July 14.