A Baton Rouge lawyer who has been practicing law for nearly half a century has been suspended for the second time in six years, this time for repeatedly filing frivolous motions to recuse judges.
The Louisiana Supreme Court said Otha Curtis Nelson Sr. also neglected a legal matter and failed to communicate with a client.
The high court suspended Nelson last Friday for a year and a day, which will require him to apply for reinstatement before being allowed to resume practicing law.
Nelson, who was admitted to the practice of law in 1972, declined to comment Wednesday.
Nelson's first suspension — three years with all but one year deferred, followed by two years of supervised probation — came in 2014.
The state Supreme Court said then that he mishandled his trust account, collected an excessive fee, failed to turn over property and funds belonging to third parties, failed to seek approval of his attorney's fees in a workers' compensation matter, failed to refund unearned fees, and failed to cooperate with the Office of Disciplinary Counsel's investigation.
The justices also said in their 2014 discipline of Nelson that he caused a mistrial in a case by dismissing prospective jurors based solely on their race.
In Friday's suspension order, the high court said Nelson filed motions to recuse two 21st Judicial District Court judges and all of the judges of the state 1st Circuit Court of Appeal in a community property partition case.
The justices also said Nelson neglected a legal matter and failed to communicate with a client in a divorce case.
The Supreme Court found that the baseline sanction for the misconduct cited in its order Friday was a six-month suspension, but the court said "an upward deviation is warranted" in light of his prior disciplinary history.
"In Nelson I, among other things, respondent caused a mistrial by removing Caucasian jurors from a jury panel based solely on their race, which we determined was conduct prejudicial to the administration of justice," the court stated.
"In the instant matter, respondent engaged in similar conduct when he filed frivolous motions to recuse various judges," the court wrote.
The Supreme Court noted that a hearing committee determined that Nelson "does not understand the serious and improper nature of his assertions against the judges."
The committee's report found that his attack on the integrity of the judicial system potentially undermined the public trust and damaged the legal system in general.