NEW ORLEANS — The indefinite suspensions of a once-married New Iberia legal team could become more definite following a recommendation issued Feb. 22 by a Louisiana Attorney Disciplinary Board (LADB) hearing committee.
The three-member committee unanimously recommended that ex-wife Lucretia Patrice Pecantte and her ex-husband Lynden James Burton be suspended for a year, with nine months deferred and to run retroactive with the effective date of their interim suspension handed down in September 2017. If the high court were to hand down such an order, it would effectively mean the former couple will have served their suspension.
"Ten years ago, [Burton and Pecantte] failed to timely render unto Caesar what they owed the IRS," the recommendation said.
"Given the exquisite sensitivities of our age, no one should interpret this reference to Jesus' counsel regarding paying taxes (e.g. Matthew 22:15-22) as some anti-tax sentiment by this committee," the recommendation added in a footnote. "This phrase is offered in the same contexts as used in United States v Wisenbaker by Judge John Minor Wisdom."
In the 1994 Wisenbaker decision, the U.S. Fifth Circuit Court of appeals referred to an IRS investigation that found a diesel fuel salesman's "lower prices stemmed not from superior efficiency or economies of scale, but from the simple expedient of failing to render unto Caesar those things due unto him." The Fifth Circuit upheld a lower court's finding that the salesman was guilty of two counts of attempting to evade federal excise taxes.
Burton was admitted to the bar in Louisiana on Oct. 10, 1997 while Pecantte was admitted April 28, 1995, according to their separate profiles at the Louisiana State Bar Association’s website.
Last March, both pled guilty in U.S. District Court for the Western District of Louisiana to willfully failing to file individual income tax returns for the tax years 2007, 2008 and 2009, according a U.S. Department of Justice news release issued at the time.
In 2014, Pecantte ran for election to Louisiana's 16th Judicial District and lost to Curtis Sigur, whose current term on the 16th District bench will expire in December 2024.