Louisiana Record

Tuesday, August 20, 2019

LADB committee recommends dismissal of charges against New York attorney

Discipline

By Karen Kidd | Aug 28, 2018


NEW ORLEANS (Louisiana Record) — A Louisiana Attorney Disciplinary Board (LADB) hearing committee has recommended that charges against New York attorney Larry English, who represented a client in an unrelated Louisiana death penalty case reviewed by the U.S. Supreme Court earlier this year, be dismissed.

Two of four counts against English were dismissed by the committee for failure to prosecute after witnesses didn't appear at hearing in March, according to the 85-page Aug. 21 recommendation issued by LADB Hearing Committee No. 17. The committee recommended the remaining counts be dismissed because evidence presented at hearing "does not support the charges."

Formal charges filed in February 2017 by the office of disciplinary counsel and consolidated the following against April alleged English violated professional conduct rules regarding fees, safekeeping property and communication in multiple client matters.

The recommendation was signed by committee chairman Claude W. Bookter. Committee attorney member Stephen V. Callaway and public member John M. Legrand Jr. concurred in the decision.

English was admitted to the bar in Louisiana on April 11, 1994, according to his profile at the Louisiana State Bar Association's website. English had no prior discipline before the state bar, according to the hearing committee's report.

In a case unrelated to the charges, English represented Robert McCoy in a first-degree triple murder case heard in 2011 and who earlier this year won a new trial following a U.S. Supreme Court ruling in May. McCoy, charged with killing three members of his estranged wife's family in 2008, pleaded not guilty, saying he was not in Louisiana at the time and that the real killers were corrupt police in a drug deal gone bad.

Faced with prosecutors' overwhelming case and in an apparent attempt to save McCoy from the death penalty, English told the jury that McCoy killed his estranged wife's son, mother and stepfather but that his diminished mental state at the time should bar him from a first-degree murder conviction.

In high court's 6-3 majority, Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg wrote that English had no right to ignore his client's instructions and that he should have refrained from "admitting guilt, even when counsel's experienced-based view is that confessing guilt offers the defendant the best chance to avoid the death penalty." 

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Louisiana Attorney Disciplinary Board Louisiana State Bar Association Louisiana Supreme Court U.S. Supreme Court

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