NEW ORLEANS – Longtime New Orleans attorney Joseph Mayer III faces possible suspension following a Jan. 17 recommendation issued by a Louisiana Attorney Disciplinary Board (LADB) hearing committee over two crashes in the same day while he was intoxicated.
In its six-page recommendation, the LADB committee recommended Mayer be suspended for a year and a day and that he be ordered to pay all costs and expenses in the disciplinary proceedings.
The recommendation was signed by committee chairman Michael J. Sepanik. Attorney member Lena D. Giangrosso and public member Patricia A. Caperino concurred.
Mayer was admitted to the bar in Louisiana on Oct. 5, 1979, according to his profile at the Louisiana State Bar Association’s website. No prior discipline before the state bar is listed in Mayer's profile, and a search of the LADB's online database of disciplinary decisions and rulings also turned up no prior record of discipline.
Allegations against Mayer stem from two car crashes the morning of Oct. 1, 2018, while he "was ostensibly on his way to work as an attorney," the recommendation said.
"While heavily intoxicated (reported BAC 'breath sample' of .260 g%), [Mayer] caused two vehicular accidents, with the second accident co-incident with his unlawfully leaving the scene of the first," the recommendation said. "[Mayer] does not have a sound recollection of what occurred during the accidents, but he admits/stipulates to causing both accidents due to his serious state of intoxication, as well as to unlawfully leaving the scene of an accident."
Mayer also stipulated that he was driving on a suspended license and without vehicle insurance the morning of the accidents, according to the recommendation.
Mayer subsequently was charged by Jefferson Parish Sheriff's Office with operating a vehicle while intoxicated (first offense), hit-and-run driving, driving while license suspended and liability security required.
Mayer was allowed to enter a diversion program, completed multiple counseling session, attended AA meetings and passed random drug and alcohol tests, according to the recommendation.
The hearing committee found that Mayer's alleged misconduct involved property damage to multiple vehicles, but no one was injured "although the potential for serious injury to himself and others was high," the recommendation said. "Under the jurisprudence of the Louisiana Supreme Court, the baseline sanction in this matter is suspension."