NEW ORLEANS – An attorney has filed an appeal with the Louisiana Supreme Court to overturn his suspension banning him from practicing law after he was accused of allegedly using racially offensive and derogatory terms to refer to judges and lawyers.
Ashton O’Dwyer is fighting the Louisiana Attorney Disciplinary Board, which recommended that he be disbarred after he allegedly sent a series of emails that referred to Louisiana Supreme Court Justice Catherine Kimball in an offensive and sexual way. O’Dwyer also allegedly sent emails that referred to the attorney of his disciplinary hearing in a derogatory way using terms such as “pimp," “puppet," “Uncle Tom” and “Oreo.”
O’Dwyer has filed a lengthy handwritten appeal that he hopes will help dismiss his case and overturn his suspension.
“Ideally, were I to win the appeal, they would dismiss or overturn my suspension and not disbar me permanently and suggest to the disciplinary board that my ability to practice law be reinstated,” O’Dwyer told the Louisiana Record.
However, O'Dwyer harbors concerns that his hopes will not materialize.
“I don’t think that is going to happen because the entire attorney disciplinary system is corrupt," he said. "They used the attorney disciplinary system to unleash a rein of terror against me that has made my life hell since 2005.”
In an email, O’Dwyer said he had received notice from the Supreme Court that his case will be set for oral argument on the court’s next available docket. He was also notified that his petition will be treated as his brief before the court.
“All of this means that the court must have granted me leave to appeal, although I have not received any notice to that effect," he said.
The due date for his brief with the clerk of court was Dec. 6. O’Dwyer said he believes he is being targeted because of the cases he fought against the state and federal government for victims of Katrina.
“Everything that has happened to me is directly related to Katrina because I was appearing on national news and in print criticizing the government all the way through the White House to the outhouse,” O’Dwyer said.
He claims he was attacked the night after he filed a lawsuit on Sept. 20, 2005, on behalf of Katrina victims.
“I filed the lawsuit on the 19th and I get hit at five minutes after midnight about 12 hours after filing the lawsuit," he said.
He alleges he was “brutalized, tortured and falsely imprisoned by the Louisiana Department of Public Safety and Corrections” at Camp Amtrak in New Orleans. During the attack, O’Dwyer claims he was pepper-sprayed 30 to 40 times, shot in both thighs with a 12-gauage shotgun loaded with beanbag rounds that crippled him and made it so he has to walk with a cane.
“That was a criminal ganglion style hit,” O’Dwyer said.
When O’Dwyer was asked how far he plans to take his fight to practice law again, he said, “This is it. It’s vain and useless to apply for writ to the U.S. Supreme Court.”
The Louisiana Supreme Court disbarred O’Dwyer in 2009 on an interim basis.