NEW ORLEANS — New Orleans attorney Shelley Ann Martin faces possible disbarment following a Louisiana Attorney Disciplinary Board (LADB) recommendation to the state Supreme Court in part over her 2009 and 2013 drug-related arrests.
The office of disciplinary counsel alleged Martin violated professional conduct rules regarding conflict of interest, unauthorized practice of law, committing a criminal act and conduct prejudicial to the administration of justice, according to the LADB's recommendation.
The LADB's recommendation follows a hearing committee's legal conclusions and its own recommendations issued late last year.
One count against Martin refers to her September 2009 arrest in New Orleans, when local law enforcement observed Martin "exiting a vehicle with a needle sticking out of her forearm," the LADB recommendation said. Martin failed to appear in court and a fugitive warrant was issued for her arrest, but the district attorney "eventually dismissed the charges when they became stale," the recommendation said.
In another count against Martin, she allegedly "commenced an intimate sexual relationship" with a client "and introduced him to the drug culture in which (Martin) was engaged", the recommendation said. The client later endured an "acrimonious divorce" from his wife, the recommendation said.
Martin and the male client were arrested together in March 2013 after they were caught by Ascension Parish-area law enforcement in a Lamar Dixon Center bathroom with cocaine, crack and a crack pipe, according to another count against Martin. Martin didn't appear at her arraignment "and is currently a fugitive from justice with a bench warrant for her arrest," the recommendation said.
Martin was admitted to the bar in Louisiana on Oct. 18, 2007, according to her profile at the Louisiana State Bar Association's website. She has been ineligible to practice law in Louisiana since June 2010 due to noncompliance with continuing legal education requirements, failure to file a registration statement, nonpayment of state bar dues and a disciplinary assessment, and not filing a trust account disclosure form, according to the LADB's recommendation and her state bar profile.
In February 2012, the state Supreme Court handed down an interim suspension against Martin "for threat of harm."
In November, a LADB hearing committee recommended Martin's disbarment over the drug arrests, the alleged relationship with her client, for practicing while ineligible and failure to appear in court.