Louisiana Record

Tuesday, August 20, 2019

Suspension recommended for Baton Rouge attorney convicted of 'chest bumping' DA

By Karen Kidd | Apr 27, 2018

NEW ORLEANS (Louisiana Record) — Baton Rouge attorney Felix Anthony DeJean IV awaits the outcome of a recommendation issued by a Louisiana Attorney Disciplinary Board (LADB) hearing committee in March that he be suspended after "chest bumping" a district attorney while leaving a judge's chambers in 2015.

"Considering the circumstances of [DeJean's] offense and the aggravating/mitigating factors described above, the committee recommends a six-month suspension, with no deferral, together with payment of all costs of this proceeding," said the seven-page report issued March 13 by LADB Hearing Committee No. 15.

No additional updates in the matter, LADB recommendations or a decision by the state Supreme Court, have been posted to the LADB website.

Baton Rouge attorney Felix Anthony DeJean IV

DeJean was admitted to the bar in Louisiana on Oct. 10, 1997, according to his profile at the Louisiana State Bar Association's website. Born and raised in Opelousas, DeJean earned his law degree from Southern University Law School in 1997 and is founder of DeJean Law in Baton Rouge, according to an online biography at the National Academy of Criminal Defense Attorneys' website.

The chest bump incident occurred March 19, 2015 as DeJean and Concordia Parish District Attorney Bradley Burget were leaving the chambers of Judge Kathy Johnson of the Seventh Judicial District Court in Cambodia Parish following a conference, according to formal charges included in the hearing committee's report. 

"At the conclusion of the conference, the parties were leaving the judge's chambers when respondent exchanged words with the district attorney, physically confronted him and 'chest bumped' Mr. Burget twice, perpetrating a battery upon the district attorney," the formal charges said.

DeJean later told the Louisiana Record that he'd been the victim in the incident.

In July 2016, DeJean was found guilty of simple battery, a misdemeanor, in the incident, for which he received a six-month suspended sentence, 18 months of supervised probation, was fined and ordered to complete an anger management program, according to the hearing committee's report.

DeJean completed the anger management program and regularly sees a psychiatrist who has been treating him for more than 15 years, according to the hearing department report. He's also suing Burget. 

"Prior to his criminal trial for simple battery, [DeJean] filed a civil suit against the district attorney for damages for battery of [DeJean], which [DeJean] described as trying to claim his innocence in mitigation of his criminal conviction," the hearing committee's report said. "The suit remains pending."

DeJean's counsel argued the criminal sentence was "unusually severe" and urged the committee to consider it as a mitigating factor but the committee didn't "find the assessed penalty to be so harsh as to displace any sanction that may be assessed in the present proceeding," the committee's report said.

The committee also declined to consider DeJean's compliance with his 2013 and 2016 conditions of probation as mitigating. "While [DeJean] testified that he is now a different man and a better lawyer, having learned from the penalties and treatment resulting from this and the prior incidents, the committee has no evidence on which to base such conclusion other than [DeJean]'s self-serving claim," the report said.

DeJean was disciplined twice before, according to the report. He was publicly reprimanded in 2013 in a "disciplinary proceeding arising out of anger control issues and DeJean's verbal assault against an adverse counsel," the report said. In 2006 he was placed on two years' probation over "physical altercations, anger control issues and other behavior caused by [DeJean]'s bipolar disorder and ADHD and use of a controlled substances and alcohol," the report said.

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Louisiana State Bar Association Louisiana Supreme Court