Louisiana Attorney Permanently Disbarred but Not Criminally Charged for Pimping Child to Jail Prisoners
An attorney’s failure to respect the authority of the Louisiana Supreme Court, “as well as his use of his position as an attorney to obtain sexual gratification at the expense of his client’s interests,” has resulted in permanent disbarment.
The January 19, 2011 order to strike Noland James Hammond from the rolls of Louisiana attorneys came after Hammond was found guilty of 24 counts of misconduct. The most egregious charge involved taking a 16-year-old girl to a local jail to perform sex acts with several prisoners.
In October 2003, Hammond contacted two men who were being held at the Bunkie Detention Center in Avoyelles Parish; one had been convicted of aggravated battery, the other of rape. Hammond told them he believed they had been wrongfully convicted and thought he could get their convictions reversed, but that he would need a sample of their semen in order to do so.
Hammond set up an attorney-client contact visit with the two prisoners. He brought with him a 16-year-old girl, whom he described as his “assistant.” Once they were in a private room, the girl performed oral sex on the prisoners while Hammond videotaped the encounter.
When one of the men asked why it had to be videotaped, Hammond responded that he “had to record this for the courthouse to know the semen came from you.” He then instructed the men to ejaculate on a piece of plastic that he wrapped up and put in his briefcase.
Following their visits with Hammond, prisoners were found in possession of cell phones, cigars and money. An investigation reviewed recorded phone calls that revealed conversations between Hammond and jail prisoners. During those conversations, which were extremely graphic, Hammond solicited inappropriate contact between himself and the prisoners.
Those facts comprised the initial three misconduct charges against Hammond. The next ten counts involved his solicitation of sexual acts from male clients. After Hammond was paid $6,000 by a client in a drug possession case, Hammond told him that in order to defend him he would need to see him in his boxer shorts. Once the man was in his underwear, Hammond told him he needed to get an erection. An inability to do so led to a porn video being played. When that did not work, Hammond began to stroke his client, who then left Hammond’s residence.
All of Hammond’s clients had pre-paid for legal services. The court’s disbarment order detailed incidents in which Hammond had solicited sexual favors or engaged in graphic sexual conversations. In several cases he performed little, if any, work for clients after they rebuffed his sexual advances. He also refused to return the fees they had paid for his services.
Hammond was suspended from practicing law on an interim basis in 2005 as the investigation into his misconduct continued. However, despite that suspension he continued to give legal advice to his clients and negotiated the settlement of their personal injury claims. Having found that Hammond’s inappropriate sexual conduct with his clients and his unauthorized practice of law warranted disbarment, the Louisiana Supreme Court did not discuss the other charges against him related to neglect of legal matters and failure to communicate with clients, including returning files and refunding unearned attorney fees.
Although many of Hammond’s acts were violations of the criminal code, particularly the incident involving the 16-year-old girl, he did not face criminal charges. “When the Supreme Court [temporarily] disbarred him, we made the decision not to prosecute the charges,” stated Avoyelles Parish District Attorney Charles Riddle. He said the credibility of the prisoners made pursuing a criminal case problematic.
In addition to disbarment, Hammond was ordered to pay restitution to his former clients and also pay the costs of the investigation. See: In re Noland James Hammond, 56 So.3d 199 (La. 2011).
Additional source: National Law Journal
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Related legal case
In re Noland James Hammond
|Cite||56 So.3d 199 (La. 2011)|
|Level||State Supreme Court|