On Monday, January 29, 2024, the Louisiana Attorney Disciplinary Board recommends the permanent disbarment of Attorney David R. Opperman to the Louisiana Supreme Court. The recommendation follows a disciplinary hearing of Opperman held in June 2023.

The case is entitled “In the Matter of David R. Opperman,” with case no. 23-DB-009.

The charges cited Louisiana Rules of Professional Conduct 8.4(b) and 8.4(a) which states:

The commission of a criminal act, particularly one which calls into question the lawyer’s honesty, integrity, or fitness as a lawyer in other respects the commission of a criminal act, particularly one which calls into question the lawyer’s honesty, integrity, or fitness as a lawyer in other respects.

Violate or attempt to violate the Rules of Professional Conduct.

The Rules of Professional Conduct can be found here.

According to the filing, Opperman was indicted in 2020 on multiple felony counts of aggravated rape of a 13-year-old girl from 2003. He was also separately charged with indecent behavior with another juvenile between 2000 and 2001.

Opperman reached a plea agreement where he pled no contest to indecent behavior involving the first victim and guilty to indecent behavior involving the second victim. In June 2022, he was sentenced to seven years in prison with two years suspended for the first count and seven years suspended for the second count.

In the disciplinary matter, the Office of Disciplinary Counsel filed charges alleging Opperman violated professional conduct rules by committing a criminal act. A hearing was held in June 2023 where evidence such as court records and a victim impact statement were produced. Opperman, who participated via video conference from prison, was the only witness who testified.

In August 2023, the hearing committee found Opperman violated the rules by committing two serious crimes. It determined his actions intentionally harmed the victims and brought disrepute to the legal profession. Aggravating factors included exploiting vulnerable victims and substantial legal experience. The only mitigators were a past clean record and prison sentence.

Citing guidance that disbarment is the baseline penalty for felony convictions, the committee proposed permanent disbarment. It noted Opperman’s misconduct aligned with guidelines for lawyers convicted of sexual offenses against minors. In late 2023, briefs were filed both in support and opposition to the recommendation.

Following the proposed discipline, the Disciplinary Board affirmed the committee’s factual findings and rule violations. It agreed permanent disbarment was appropriate due to aggravating factors and cases of similar abuse convictions resulting in removal from the bar for life.

The recommendation states:

“Based on the above, the Disciplinary Board recommends that Respondent, David R. Opperman, be permanently disbarred from the practice of law. The Board also recommends that Respondent be assessed with all costs and expenses of these proceedings in accordance with Rule XIX, Section 10.1.”

According to avvo.com, Mr. Opperman is a litigation attorney in Saint Francisville, Louisiana. He attended the Louisiana State University, Paul M. Hebert Law Center, graduating in 1990. He acquired his law license in Louisiana in 1991.

A copy of the original filing can be found here.