On Tuesday, January 30, 2024, the Louisiana Attorney Disciplinary Board Hearing Committee recommended that 74-year-old attorney Robert W. Sharp, Jr. receive a six-month suspension from practicing law. This recommendation came after Sharp was accused of multiple rule violations regarding a child abuse case he became involved in.

The case is entitled “In the Matter of Robert W. Sharp, Jr” with case number 23-DB-050.

The case stems from accusations that Sharp attempted to represent conflicting parties in a criminal matter involving child molestation. In July 2022, Sharp appeared in court claiming to represent the criminal defendant Martin Cruz, who had admitted to abusing his minor daughter. Sharp also said he represented the daughter, who was the victim, as well as Cruz’s wife Sandra, and the other child.

Presiding Judge Rick Warren raised concerns about Sharp’s clear conflict of interest. Testimony revealed Sharp met with Cruz in jail and discussed legal strategies, while Cruz admitted to the abuse. Despite never speaking with the daughter, Sharp also purported to represent her interests based solely on what Cruz’s wife told him.

Investigators said Sharp hindered their investigation into the abuse allegations by prohibiting questions about the matter during an interview with the children. He was present for their interview despite claims of not being involved. As the criminal case and child welfare hearing proceeded, Sharp took actions more beneficial to the alleged abuser.

At the disciplinary hearing in December 2022, Sharp maintained there was no conflict, claiming Cruz would plead guilty. However, past letters and statements supported conflicting positions about prosecuting Cruz or releasing him. The committee acknowledged Sharp’s stated intent to help the family but found his conduct knowingly created actual harm.

After deliberating, the committee determined Sharp violated rules regarding conflicts of interest and conduct prejudicing justice administration. They noted Sharp’s disciplinary history and failure to acknowledge the conflict. In light of aggravating factors and to protect the public, the committee recommended a six-month suspension for Sharp’s license. The Louisiana Supreme Court will make the final decision.

According to Avvo, Mr. Sharp is a civil rights attorney in Ruston, Louisiana. He obtained his law license in Louisiana in 1973.

A copy of the original filing can be found here.