Disbarred New Orleans attorney reinstated after 24 years of trying

By Karen Kidd | May 31, 2018

NEW ORLEANS — Disbarred New Orleans attorney Michael J. Riley Sr. has been readmitted to the Louisiana State Bar following a May 25 Louisiana Supreme Court decree and 24 years of repeated reapplication, litigation and court-ordered waiting.

NEW ORLEANS — Disbarred New Orleans attorney Michael J. Riley Sr. has been readmitted to the Louisiana State Bar following a May 25 Louisiana Supreme Court decree and 24 years of repeated reapplication, litigation and court-ordered waiting.

Riley's conditional readmission followed a positive recommendation by a Louisiana Attorney Disciplinary Board (LADB) hearing committee, was effective immediately and is subject to two years of unsupervised probation, according to the high court's decree.

Riley was admitted to the bar in Louisiana on April 16, 1982, according to his profile at the state bar's website.

Less than five years later, Riley was suspended for three years in January 1987 over allegations of commingling and conversion. In January 1990, Riley was disbarred for 13 counts of misconduct that were largely concurrent with the allegations for which he was suspended.

In May 1992, the state Supreme Court determined the applicable date of Riley's disbarment would be March 1988, which meant Riley would be eligible to petition for readmission in March 1993.  Riley petitioned in February the following year and told a hearing committee in June 1994 that he needed his law license back to make money to pay restitution payments. The Supreme Court denied his petition in January 1995, saying he failed to make full restitution.

Riley ultimately filed suit in U.S. District Court for Louisiana's Eastern District after denial of further petitions, claiming the denials were a violation of his civil rights and the due process clause and equal protection clause under the 14th Amendment.

The district court dismissed the case in February 2010, "because the court found, in part, that under the Rooker-Feldman doctrine, the court lacked subject matter jurisdiction over (Riley)'s claims which were collateral attacks on the Louisiana Supreme Court ruling denying (Riley) readmission to the Louisiana State Bar," the district court said.

In August 2013, the Supreme Court denied without explanation another of Riley's petitions for readmission -- despite a hearing committee recommendation the previous March that he be conditionally readmitted -- ruling he would have to wait another three years to apply again.

Riley filed his latest petition in November 2016 and this time an LABD hearing committee recommended the petition be granted "subject to a period of probation with conditions," the state Supreme Court said in its latest ruling in the matter.

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Organizations in this Story

Louisiana Attorney Disciplinary Board Louisiana State Bar Association Louisiana Supreme Court U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Louisiana

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