While representing a former Chief Justice of the Louisiana 4th Circuit Court of Appeals, Russell Law Firm and attorney Danny Russell, secured a far-reaching victory, by winning the Louisiana Supreme Court’s decision in Jones v. La. Bd. of Ethics; Case No. 18-C-1744).
The Supreme Court and parties were presented with complex, constitutional issues that were never previously decided on by Louisiana courts. Those issues were related: (1) “separation of powers” between Louisiana branches of government (executive, legislative, & judiciary); and (2) the authority of governmental entities to assess and enforce fines against others.
An executive branch entity, the “LA Bd. of Ethics,” used the LA Code of Ethics to assess and enforce a fine against the Chief Justice, for not timely filing a financial disclosure form with the board, as an “ex officio” member of an executive branch commission. Such action was taken despite the chief justice’s prior financial disclosure to the Judiciary Commission, as a member of the judiciary branch. In rendering its decision, the LA Supreme Court adopted Mr. Russell’s argument that the LA Bd. of Ethics committed a constitutional violation against the Chief Justice, by assessing and enforcing a fine against him, without constitutional authority or when such action was left exclusively to the Judiciary Commision under the LA constitution (“the judges’ conduct shall be governed exclusively by the provisions of the Code of Judicial Conduct”).
Thus, the Supreme Court’s ruling not only affects future “separation of powers” issues and “public” persons; but also trickles down to issues involving constitutional violations against private persons’ rights by governmental actors (e.g. Office of Motor Vehicles), when disciplining and/or penalizing those persons, without expressed, constitutional or statutory authority to do so.
Danny Russell, Esq.
Baton Rouge area personal injury, DWI Defense, and Family Law attorney, licensed in Louisiana and admitted in the following courts:
- All Louisiana District Courts
- All Louisiana Appellate Courts
- Louisiana Supreme Court
- Federal, Middle District Court of Louisiana
- Federal, Western District Court of Louisiana
- Federal, Eastern District Court of Louisiana
- Federal, Fifth Court of Appeals.
**Information furnished herein is only general and not a substitute for personalized legal advice. The photographs are not depictions of any actual even or scenes, but merely dramatizations.