NEW ORLEANS – New Orleans attorney Bruce C. Ashley II, practicing in Louisiana for more than 43 years, has received an entirely deferred suspension following a May 25 Louisiana Supreme Court attorney disciplinary proceeding after issues reportedly caused at least in part by his issues with alcoholism.
"His alcoholism was arrested and remained in remission through the date of the hearing," the Supreme Court said in its 14-page attorney disciplinary proceeding. "To remain in remission, it is essential that he closely follow the requisites of a newly executed JLAP [judges and lawyers assistance program agreement] recovery agreement. Periodic reports should be provided to the ODC [office of disciplinary counsel] to assure his close adherence to these requisites."
The deferred 18-month suspension is conditional upon Ashley's five-year JLAP contract and other provisions previously recommended by the Louisiana Attorney Disciplinary Board and a hearing committee. "Any failure of [Ashley] to comply with these conditions, or any misconduct during the probationary period, may be grounds for making the deferred suspension executory, or imposing additional discipline, as appropriate," the court said in its disciplinary proceeding
Ashley also was ordered to pay all costs and expenses in the matter.
Ashley was admitted to the bar in Louisiana on Oct. 2, 1974, according to his profile at the Louisiana State Bar Association's website.
The Supreme Court noted that Ashley has not made full restitution "to those to whom restitution is owed" and he has had "minor but notable compliance issues" with his JLAP recovery agreement" but that Ashley "was proud to discuss his active and successful participation in a twelve-step program of recovery from alcoholism."
"Clearly, he is a highly gifted practitioner with decades of experience representing criminal defendants," the high court said in its disciplinary proceeding. "He has provided substantial and valuable services for free or at reduced rates to underserved and under-resourced persons in the context of an underfunded and under-resourced criminal justice system."
Ashley's deferred suspension is not the first he has received from the state Supreme Court. In September 2013, the high court handed down a fully deferred six-month suspension against Ashley over allegations that he neglected a legal matter and failed to adequately communicate with a client.