On Monday, February 26, 2024, the Louisiana Attorney Disciplinary Board recommended the suspension of New Orleans attorney Ronald Sidney Haley Jr. for violating professional conduct rules during a prior suspension from practicing law.

The case is entitled “In the Matter of Ronald Sidney Haley Jr.,” with case no. 23-DB-033.

The charges cited Louisiana Rules of Professional Conduct 5.5(a), 8.4(a), 

The disciplinary matter stemmed from two counts of misconduct filed against Haley by the Office of Disciplinary Counsel. The first count involved Haley continuing to advise former client Mieyoshi Edwards about his criminal cases while Haley was suspended between December 2021 and June 2022.

The second count alleged Haley similarly advised another former client, Marcus Clayton, about his criminal matter during the suspension period. Clayton had hired new counsel who filed legal motions containing text messages showing ongoing discussions with Haley from late 2021 through mid-2022.

A hearing was held where both sides presented witness testimony and evidence. In its ruling, the board’s Hearing Committee #02 found sufficient proof Haley broke Rule 5.5(a) of the Louisiana Rules of Professional Conduct by knowingly instructing Clayton on how to act in court before the judge on his case during the suspension.

However, the committee dismissed other rule violation claims against Haley, saying prosecutors failed to clearly demonstrate he intentionally made false statements or disobeyed a legal obligation. The board noted testimony from Haley and his witness was more believable and forthcoming than statements from prosecutors’ witnesses.

While Haley’s communications with Edwards and Clayton about scheduling or clerical issues did not violate suspension rules, the committee ruled advising Clayton specifically on courtroom behavior crossed an ethical line. As misconduct, it warranted sanctioning Haley despite several mitigating factors in his favor like no prior offenses.

Following ABA guidelines, the baseline penalty for Haley’s knowing violation is a six-month suspension. The board weighed aggravating and mitigating circumstances in deciding not to deviate from that standard punishment. Haley has been practicing law since 2007 and is respected for representing high-profile clients charged with serious crimes. The board submitted its ruling recommending the suspension and costs be assessed to Haley to the high court for final review.

The recommendation states:

“After considering the evidence, the Louisiana Rules of Professional Conduct, and the law. the Committee finds that a single violation of Rule 5.5(a) was proven by clear and convincing evidence. The Committee also finds that Respondent violated rule 8.4(a) of the Rules of Professional Conduct. The Committee believes that no deviation in a sanction is warranted because the aggravating factors and mitigating factors are balanced. As such, the Committee respectfully recommends a sanction of six (6) month suspension and that the Respondent be assessed with the costs and expenses of the proceeding pursuant to Rule XIX, §10.1.”

According to avvo.com, Mr. Haley Jr. is an attorney in Baton Rogue, Louisiana. He acquired his law license in Louisiana in 2007.

A copy of the original filing can be found here.