Tom Aswell summarizes the case as “Just another day of openness, accountability and transparency for the gold standard of ethics in this administration.”
The complete article follows:
State and national media recently devoted major coverage to a federal district judge’s ruling that death row inmates at Louisiana State Penitentiary in Angola are being subjected to cruel and unusual punishment, but an accompanying court ruling leaves open the possibility that attorneys representing the state could be sanctioned, suspended and even disbarred for their activity in the lawsuit.
The sanctions ruling just happens to involve one of Baton Rouge’s major law firms, Shows, Cali and Walsh, which has at least 16 active contracts with various state agencies worth a combined $3 million.Besides the $30,000 contract dated July 1, 2013, to defend the state in the Angola litigation, the firm currently has:
A contract for $640,000 with the Louisiana Attorney General for legal services in the Deepwater
Horizon oil spill (April 1, 2013 to Mar. 31, 2016);
A contract for $600,000 with the Division of Administration’s Office of Community Development for legal services to review and analyze Road Home files for overpayments, ineligible grantees and to negotiate and collect funds due the state (May 21, 2013 to May 20, 2016);
A contract for $500,000 with the Louisiana Workforce Commission (LWC) to provide legal counsel and representation to LWC’s Louisiana Rehabilitation Services Program paid at a rate of $15,000 per month (Feb. 16, 2011 to Feb. 15, 2014);
A contract for $375,000 with the Louisiana State Board of Nursing to provide legal counsel (July 1, 2013 to June 30, 2014;A contract for $300,000 with the Attorney General’s office to provide legal services in the Tobacco Arbitration Funding (April 1, 2013 to Mar. 30, 2016).
The sanctions ruling is significant not only in the identity of the firm and the attorneys involved, but also because it is a reflection of lengths to which the state apparently is willing to go to protect its interests—even to the point of evidence manipulation and an attempted cover up of that activity.