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Thursday, May 28, 2020

New Orleans attorney reprimanded for threatening to 'punch the s*** out of' an assistant DA he's now suing

Discipline

By Karen Kidd | Mar 24, 2020

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NEW ORLEANS (Louisiana Record) — Long time New Orleans attorney Ike Spears has been publicly reprimanded following a March 9 Louisiana Supreme Court attorney disciplinary proceeding for threatening to assault an assistant DA during a 2018 criminal trial.  

That Spears did not actually physically assault now former Orleans Parish Assistant District Attorney Iain Armstrong Dover in open court in front of a judge in August 2018 figured prominently in the Supreme Court's decision not to more harshly punish Spears.

"Because there was no physical altercation in this case, we find the mitigating circumstances justify a downward deviation from the baseline sanction of suspension to a public reprimand," the high court said in its eight page disciplinary proceeding. "Based on this reasoning, we will accept the hearing committee's recommendation and publicly reprimand [Spears]."

In November, a Louisiana Attorney Disciplinary Board (LADB) hearing committee recommended that Spears be reprimanded.

Dover, now assistant district attorney in Washington Parish, was reprimanded over the incident following a Supreme Court disciplinary proceeding issued last May.

Spears filed a defamation lawsuit against Dover last summer over the incident.

Spears was admitted to the bar in Louisiana on Oct. 10, 1986, according to his profile at the Louisiana State Bar Association's website.

The threatened assault occurred before Orleans Parish Criminal District Court Judge Robin Pittman, according to the disciplinary proceeding, which cited the court reporter's transcript. Spears told Pittman that the alleged victim in the case, his client's girlfriend, previously filed false charges and ultimately pled guilty to filing a false police report.

"Excuse me, sir," Dover reportedly said. "You're a liar."

Spears responded, "And I will punch the s*** out of you if you call me a liar, again."

To which Dover responded, "Liar."

Spears then raised his fist toward Dover, who raised his arm "in a blocking motion." Spears suggested they could both "settle this outside the courtroom", to which Dover replied "Sure."

"It is undisputed that there was no physical contact between [Spears] and Mr. Dover," the disciplinary proceeding said. "Following the incident, Judge Pittman called each attorney into her chambers, separately, for a brief discussion. After returning to the courtroom, both [Spears] and Mr. Dover apologized on the record for their conduct. Judge Pittman then concluded the hearing without further difficulty."

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Louisiana State Bar AssociationLouisiana Attorney Disciplinary BoardLouisiana Supreme Court

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