NEW ORLEANS — Laplace attorney Daniel Elmore Becnel III has been suspended following a split Jan. 30 Louisiana Supreme Court attorney disciplinary proceeding over allegations that he mishandled a client's trust account.
In its 14-page attorney disciplinary proceeding, the state Supreme Court suspended Becnel for a year and a day and ordered him to pay all costs and expenses in the matter.
"In mitigation, we acknowledge [Becnel]'s lack of a dishonest motive, his prompt efforts at restitution, cooperation, and remorse," the disciplinary proceeding said. "We also believe the record demonstrates he has taken measures, albeit belatedly, to improve his accounting practices."
Two state Supreme Court Justices dissented from the majority in the matter. Justice John L. Weimer said he would have deferred all but six months of Becnel's suspension and then placed him on "a period of probations with conditions." Justice Jefferson Davis Hughes III also dissented, saying, "I respectfully dissent from the suspension of one year and one day imposed and would order a suspension of one year."
The high court's action follows recommendations by the Louisiana Attorney Disciplinary Board (LADB) and a LADB hearing committee that Becnel be suspended for a year and a day with all but 60 days deferred. Becnel was admitted to the bar in Louisiana on Oct. 11, 1991, according to his profile at the Louisiana State Bar Association's website.
Becnel's prior disciplinary history also was described in the disciplinary proceeding. In 2005, Becnel received a fully deferred year-and-a-day suspension and 18 months probation after stipulating to three instances of neglect of a legal matter, five instances of failure to communicate and two instances of failure to promptly remit funds to third parties.
The following year, Becnel was suspended for one year, with three months deferred, and placed on a year of unsupervised probation after he allegedly accepted representation in a post-conviction relief case that he was not competent to handle. In 2012, Becnel was voluntarily suspended for nine months after he stipulated to engaging in a consensual sexual relationship with a client.