New Orleans attorney suspended after pleading guilty to stalking charge

By Olivia Olsen | Jan 15, 2017

NEW ORLEANS — The Louisiana Supreme Court recently ruled to suspend New Orleans-based lawyer Trisha Ann Ward from practice on an interim basis.

The Dec. 1 ruling came as a result of a 2013 criminal case involving Ward who was charged with misdemeanor stalking and violating a protective order. The suspension took effect immediately.

The Advocate reported the story in November 2015 after Ward pleaded guilty to both charges. The article states her plea included a six-month suspended sentence, two years of probation and an order for psychological evaluation. Ward also said at that time that she had left the city to avoid any potential run-ins with the victim, a local university professor, and her husband.

The initial protective order was filed after Ward allegedly was found in the victim’s home by a housekeeper. Ward claimed that she was simply returning money borrowed to the victim in a manner to not cast suspicion on the affair Ward purports she and the victim were involved in. A year following the incident, Ward also allegedly made purchases on the victim’s Amazon account, possibly in retaliation to the initial charges.

Ward was reported to have been close to the couple and at one point had a key to their residence.

The district attorney lowered the charge against Ward from illegal entry to stalking, which turned the charge from a felony to a misdemeanor. A count connected to the online purchases was dropped.

According to Supreme Court documents, Ward’s interim suspension is pursuant to Supreme Court Rule XIX 19.3, which states that a lawyer may “jointly petition the court to enter an order of immediate interim suspension pending the resolution of [a] disciplinary proceeding.”

The document also references Rule XIX 26 (E), which explains that the suspension will take place immediately and that the respondent has 30 days from ruling to pay any fees.

It is undetermined when the suspension will be lifted or if the suspension from the Louisiana State Bar affects her status with the American Bar Association.

According to her LinkedIn profile, Ward earned her Juris Doctor from Louisiana State University and joined the Louisiana and American bar associations in 2008. She has spent her career specializing in the criminal defense of persons unable to pay for attorney services. Her practices ranged from appeals to handling cases with potential death-penalty convictions. Ward is also heavily involved in volunteer work including coaching for the Special Olympics and working with hurricane disaster relief.

The Louisiana Supreme Court is presided over by seven justices: Chief Justice Bernette J. Johnson, Greg G. Guidry, Scott J. Chricton, Jeannette T. Knoll, Marcus R. Clark, Jefferson D. Hughes III, and John L. Weimer.

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