NEW ORLEANS — New Orleans attorney and former Orleans Parish Assistant District Attorney Eusi Hekima Phillips should face no charges for a testimony deal he allegedly cut with a jailhouse informant in a murder case about a decade ago, a Louisiana Attorney Disciplinary Board (LADB) hearing committee recently recommended.
In its unanimous 15-page recommendation issued Oct. 9, LADB Hearing Committee No. 55's three members said charges against Phillips should be "dismissed in their entirety." The hearing committee unanimously found that the office of disciplinary counsel, represented during the proceedings by Deputy Disciplinary Counsel Susan C. Kalmbach, "failed to prove by clear and convincing evidence" that Phillips violated professional conduct rules.
Phillips was admitted to the bar in Louisiana on Oct. 8, 2005, according to his profile on the Louisiana State Bar Association's website.
Dane S. Ciolino, Louisiana legal ethics lawyer and professor at Loyola University New Orleans College of Law, represented Phillips in the disciplinary proceedings.
Allegations against Phillips stem from a February 2012 complaint over the former assistant DA's alleged agreement with then-inmate Morris Greene, serving a mandatory 15-year sentence for armed robbery, in Orleans Parish District Attorney Leon Cannizzaro's prosecution of Jamaal Tucker. Tucker was alleged to have shot 25-year-old David Sisolak Jr. at the Fischer public housing complex in January 2008 after mistaking Sisolak for an undercover narcotics detective.
Greene repeatedly testified during Tucker's prosecution that he had not been offered anything in exchange for his testimony.
In late October 2010, an Orleans Parish jury found Tucker, tried three times in Sisolak's killing, guilty of second-degree murder. Tucker appealed and subsequently pled guilty in October 2012 to manslaughter and other charges.
Meanwhile, Greene was set free and Cannizzaro and his office came under fire for its "win-at-all-cost" history. Those and other allegations persist, including the eruption last week of a dispute between Cannizzaro's office and Orleans Criminal District Court. Phillips left the DA's office in May 2011 and now works as a private attorney.
In his testimony before the hearing committee, Phillips "forcefully and credibly denied" making an agreement with Greene in exchange for his testimony, the LADB said in its recommendation.
"While Mr. Greene evidently 'hoped' that he would receive some consideration of a reduced sentence or transfer to another institution, his statement that [Phillips] had 'guaranteed' such consideration was not credible," the recommendation said.