Phil Haney, DA for Iberia, St. Mary and St. Martin, represented a woman in a civil action after criminal charges were filed in a boating accident she was involved in.
Last September Haney was accused by the Office of Disciplinary Counsel of violating rules of professional conduct.
The board held a hearing Thursday. The state’s high court will be the final arbiter.
G. Fred Ours, a deputy with the Office of Disciplinary Counsel, said Haney should have stopped representing Stephanie Provost after he found out that the Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries had filed charges.
Provost was hurt when she fell out of an inner tube being towed by a boat driven by her former boyfriend, according to a disciplinary board report. Shane Roberts was cited by state Wildlife and Fisheries agents for misdemeanor criminal violations of reckless operation of a watercraft and no waterskiing observer.
After Haney learned of the criminal charges in the case, he had his DA’s office recuse itself but he retained Provost as a client and was paid $20,000 in legal fees after the civil case against Provost’s boyfriend was settled in December 2007.
In July, a committee of the Louisiana Attorney Disciplinary Board investigating Haney’s case found no violations of the rules of professional conduct. The committee’s recommendations were submitted to the Louisiana Attorney Disciplinary Board, which in turn will submit recommendations to the Louisiana Supreme Court.
The committee said Haney did the right thing by recusing his office from prosecuting the case once he found out that the Wildlife Department had filed charges against Roberts.
The committee also found nothing improper in the way Haney handled Provost’s case.
Richard Stanley, a lawyer for Haney, said that when Provost came to Haney there was no indication that the case would become a criminal matter. He said Provost simply was interested in getting Haney’s help in dealing with medical insurance issues. He pointed out that Provost did not file charges against Roberts.