On Thursday, March 9, 2023, the Supreme Court of Arizona suspended attorney Lise R. Witt for unauthorized communication with a person represented by another counsel.

The case is entitled “In the Matter of Lise R. Witt,” with case no. SB-22-0056-AP

The charges cited Arizona Rules of Professional Conduct 4.2 and 8.4(d) which state:

Prohibiting a lawyer from communicating with a party involved in a matter who the lawyer knows is represented by counsel in that matter, is known as the “no-contact” rule.

Prohibiting conduct prejudicial to the administration of justice.

The Rules of Professional Conduct can be found here.

The matter was rooted in a disciplinary proceeding involving allegations of professional misconduct by the respondent involving her communications with and actions on behalf of a represented person who was also a co-defendant of Ms. Witt’s client.

The filing states:

“In March 2021, Ms. Witt was retained to represent Larry Williams, who was charged with felony child sex – trafficking offenses in Maricopa County Superior Court. Tanisha Haynes was a co-defendant in the criminal proceedings, and she was represented by attorney Charles Naegle. Both Mr. Williams and Ms. Haynes were in custody.”

The filing continues:

“Ms. Witt emailed Mr. Naegle on April 26, 2021, to “start a discussion. . . about whether your client, Tanisha [sic] Haynes, is willing to sign an affidavit essentially stating that the facts and circumstances alleged by the victim never happened; i.e., that the victim is lying and that Larry is not a pimp.” Ms. Wi tt advised that Mr. Williams was “willing to do the same” for Ms. Haynes. Mr. Naegle did not respond to Ms. Witt’s email or to her follow-up telephone messages. Mr. Naegle testified at the disciplinary hearing that he intended to respond by declining M s. Witt’s suggestion, which he deemed “absurd,” “idiotic” legal strategy, and not in his client’s best interest.”

The filing further states:

“Mr. Naegle learned of Ms. Witt’s communications with his client from prosecutor Jenkins. He testified that Ms. Witt’s actions undermined work he had been performing on Ms. Haynes’s behalf, that the affidavit did not benefit his client, and that the affidavit contradicted statements she had made to law enforcement. Additionally, the affidavit brought a halt to discussions Mr. Naegle had been having with the prosecutor about Ms. Haynes submitting to a “free talk” and testimonial agreement whereby she would testify against Mr. Williams. The affidavit, Mr. Naegle testified, “put the brakes on the State’s willingness to negotiate.” Prosecutor Jenkins corroborated this testimony, stating that although no “concrete” plea offer was on the table, she and Mr. 5 Naegle had been discussing possible resolutions of Ms. Haynes’s case, and the affidavit halted those discussions.”

In this matter, the court stated that based on the clear and convincing evidence, the sanction of suspension is generally appropriate discipline when a lawyer engages in communication with an individual in the legal system when the lawyer knows that such communication is improper, and causes injury or potential injury to a party or causes interference or potential interference with the outcome of the legal proceeding.

The order states:

“IT IS ORDERED Ms. Lise R. Witt is suspended from the practice of law for 120 days effective 30 days from the date of this Order and is to be placed on probation for two years upon reinstatement.”

Ms. Writt attended the Sandra Day O’Connor College of Law, Arizona State University, graduating in 1989. She practices in Gilbert, Arizona. She is licensed in Arizona. Her info can be found on martindale.com.

A copy of the original filing can be found here.