NEW ORLEANS (Louisiana Record) — New Orleans attorney Shelley Ann Martin, ineligible to practice law for more than eight years, has been disbarred following a Sept. 21 Louisiana Supreme Court attorney disciplinary proceeding in part over her 2009 and 2013 drug-related arrests.
"[Martin] knowingly and intentionally violated duties owed to her clients, the public, the legal system and the legal profession, causing significant actual harm," the state high court said in it eight-page attorney disciplinary proceeding. "The baseline sanction for this type of misconduct is disbarment. The record supports the aggravating and mitigating factors found by the disciplinary board. Additionally, the mitigating factor of personal or emotional problems is present because evidence in the record indicates [Martin] has a severe drug problem."
Martin's disbarment was retroactive to Feb. 7, 2012, the date of her interim suspension, according to the disciplinary proceeding. The high court's decision follows a Louisiana Attorney Disciplinary Board (LADB) recommendation issued in May that Martin be disbarred.
Martin has been ineligible to practice law in Louisiana since June 2010 due to noncompliance with continuing legal education requirements, failure to file 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 November a LADB hearing committee recommended Martin be disbarred over her drug arrests, the alleged inappropriate and intimate relationship with her client, for practicing while ineligible and failure to appear in court.
Martin was admitted to the bar in Louisiana on Oct. 18, 2007, according to her profile at the Louisiana State Bar Association's website.
Allegations against Martin include those stemming from 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's recommendation said. Martin also was alleged to have "commenced an intimate sexual relationship" with a client "and introduced him to the drug culture in which [Martin] was engaged", the recommendation said.
Martin and the 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.