NEW ORLEANS (Louisiana Record) – Houma attorney Paul E. Brown was suspended following a split Sept. 18 Louisiana Supreme Court attorney disciplinary proceeding after he allegedly took a prohibited substance and had an unfavorable evaluation.
The high court suspended Brown for a year and a day with all but 90 days deferred and placed him on two years of conditional probation, according to the high court's 14-page attorney disciplinary proceeding.
The Supreme Court's decision followed Brown's admission that he took hydrocodone in January for pain relief following a fall and after an unfavorable evaluation by the Professionals' Wellness Evaluation Center (PWEC) in June.
Justice Scott Jackson Crichton dissented from the majority opinion, writing that the disposition of Brown's case had been premature and that the majority's opinion ignores Brown's "prayer for an opportunity to be heard as to the January 2018 incident and the June 2018 PWEC report."
"Specifically, in my view, (Brown) should be allowed the opportunity to confront and cross-examine the methodology and results of the test as well as an opportunity to provide an explanation under oath as to these issues," Crichton said in his dissent. "Anything less offends fundamental due process, which we must extend to all parties, including lawyers."
Crichton said he would have remanded the matter for an evidentiary hearing.
Justice John L. Weimer and Justice Jefferson Davis Hughes III also dissented and assigned their reasons to Crichton's dissent.
Brown was admitted to the bar in Louisiana on Oct. 7, 1983, according to his profile at the Louisiana State Bar Association's website.
In May of last year, a Louisiana Attorney Disciplinary Board (LADB) Hearing Committee recommended Brown receive a fully deferred year-and-a-day suspension and a five-year Judges and Lawyers Assistance Program agreement. The hearing committee also recommended Brown be required to stop using pain and sleep aids. The hearing committee's recommendation following Brown's alleged failures to report arrests and convictions for operating a motor vehicle while under the influence and other related charges.
Brown allegedly suffered a period of opiate and sedative dependency, which resulted in two DUI arrests, according to the hearing committee's recommendation.
In November, the LADB also recommended a fully deferred year-and-a-day suspension, along with two years probation and conditional substance-abuse evaluation.