A recently dismissed St. Bernard Parish prosecutor has been suspended from practicing law after he failed to address complaints filed against him with the Louisiana Attorney Disciplinary Board.
The Louisiana Supreme Court handed attorney Gregory Duhy a yearlong suspension last week but deferred all but three months of it. Duhy will be placed on probation for a year afterward and must pay the cost of the disciplinary process, according to the ruling.
It’s been a rough few weeks for Duhy, who was among six of eight St. Bernard prosecutors to get the ax in a political shake-up carried out by Perry Nicosia, the former judge who won a three-way race for district attorney on Nov. 4. Nicosia took office 10 days later, following the death of longtime District Attorney Jack Rowley.
“The fact (Duhy) had that issue with the Supreme Court was not a factor” in dismissing him, Nicosia said.
The firings also included Nicosia’s two opponents in the DA race: lead prosecutor Glenn E. Diaz and Michael Gorbaty, a 22-year U.S. Air Force veteran.
Duhy, 60, made $76,000 in the part-time job, records show. Prosecutors in the parish also can maintain private law practices. In doing so, Duhy apparently distressed a few clients. He then upset the Attorney Disciplinary Board by failing to respond to the complaints.
Duhy has a long history of failing to cooperate with disciplinary probes, a pattern that continued when he failed to respond to three complaints that clients lodged against him from November 2010 to September 2012, according to the Supreme Court ruling.
The Office of Disciplinary Counsel was forced to issue subpoenas to get him to testify, and in September 2013 it filed formal charges against him for violating ethics rules, records show.
The violations involved appear to be relatively minor, including failing to return case files to two clients who requested them.
A hearing committee of the disciplinary board said Duhy knowingly violated the rules and that it found a “pattern of misconduct” in his failure to respond to the complaints. The committee also found “personal or emotional problems and remorse” on Duhy’s part, noting that his home and office were damaged in hurricanes Katrina and Isaac.
The committee wanted Duhy suspended for nearly the full year, but the full board recommended a year’s suspension with most of it deferred. The Supreme Court agreed, calling Duhy’s conduct “all the more egregious considering that (he) has been admonished on multiple occasions and publicly reprimanded for engaging in similar misconduct.”
Duhy, a lawyer for more than 30 years, has been admonished six times dating back to 1990 for failing to cooperate with an ongoing disciplinary investigation and other ethical lapses. He also received a public reprimand in 1993 for failing to appear under subpoena in a disciplinary case, according to the board.
Duhy declined to comment on his suspension, but noted that he’s no longer with the District Attorney’s Office.
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