On November 21, 2023, the Supreme Court Committee on Professional Conduct in Arkansas issued a Finding and Order reprimanding attorney Tamra L. Barrett following formal charges of misconduct.
The case is entitled “In the Matter of Tamra L. Barrett” with case number CPC-2023-020.
The charge cited violations of the Arkansas Rules of Professional Conduct specifically Rules 8.4(d) and 1.8(j), which state:
A lawyer shall not have sexual relations with a client unless a consensual sexual relationship existed between them when the client-lawyer relationship commenced.
It is professional misconduct for a lawyer to: (d) engage in conduct that is prejudicial to the administration of justice
The Arkansas Rules of Professional Conduct can be found here.
The charge stemmed from incidents between May and October 2021, during which a consensual sexual relationship developed between Barrett and her client Moises Stevenson. Stevenson had retained Barrett for legal counsel in a case before Garland County District Court.
The Findings and Order outline several instances of unprofessional conduct, including Barrett’s failure to perfect an appeal in Stevenson’s case, leading to a Motion to Revoke the Appeal Bond. Additionally, Barrett’s initiation of a sexual relationship with Stevenson while he was her client is found to violate ethical rules.
The Committee found that Barrett’s representation was competent and beneficial to Stevenson’s case while the relationship was ongoing. However, it turned non-existent and detrimental after the relationship ended.
In response to the findings, the Committee determined that Barrett violated the aforementioned rules. As a consequence, Barrett has been reprimanded for her conduct, and a fine of $1,500, along with costs amounting to $150, has been imposed. The Panel considered Barrett’s prior disciplinary record in determining the sanctions.
Barrett is required to pay the fine and costs within thirty days of the Findings and Order being filed with the Clerk of the Arkansas Supreme Court.
According to Avvo, Ms. Barrett is an attorney in Hot Springs, Arkansas. She acquired her law license in Arkansas in 1995.
A copy of the original filing can be found here.