Attorney Misconduct, Lawyer of the Day, Litigators, Religion, Vicious Infighting, Violence

Lawyers of the Day: Michael Fawer and Joseph Bartels

State of Louisiana seal New Orleans Above the Law blog.jpgDisorder in the court, disorder in the court! From the New Orleans Times-Picayune:

St. Tammany Parish deputies took two defense attorneys into custody on contempt of court accusations Monday after they got into a fight at the parish courthouse in Covington, Sheriff Jack Strain confirmed.

Michael Fawer of Covington and his brother-in-law, Joseph Bartels of New Orleans, tussled outside state Judge Raymond Childress’ third-floor courtroom at about 10:30 a.m. As a result, the judge ordered both men held, Strain said.

Fawer, 71, claimed Bartels made a profane reference to his religion, and Bartels, 56, claimed Fawer injured his neck.

And you thought you didn’t get along with your brother-in-law. Well, at least these guys are zealous advocates.
A little more about this incident, after the jump.

Here are the lawyers’ respective accounts of what happened:

“He gave me documents that were scurrilous,” Bartels said. “I said, ‘You just bought yourself a ticket to a bar (association) complaint.’ He grabbed me by the neck and started swinging me back and forth. .¤.¤. He hurt me substantially. I became woozy and fell.”

Fawer, reading from what he said was a witness’ statement, said Bartels told him, “I’ll see you before the bar, you Jew m-¤-¤-¤-¤-¤-¤-¤-¤-¤-¤-.” Bartels allegedly “threw up his arm,” provoking the fight, and Fawer grabbed the other man by the collar and tie, he said.

And here’s an eyewitness’s statement:

Lawyer Julian “Porky” Rodrigue, 85, was nearby and saw the incident. He declined to describe it other than to say, “There was nobody any closer than me.”

(Wow, that wasn’t terribly helpful. An editor probably should have cut that paragraph. But its presence in the piece may be justified by the opportunity to see the name “Julian ‘Porky’ Rodrigue” in print.)
P.S. The illustration is the Louisiana state seal from the website for the 22nd Judicial District Court. Doesn’t it look like it was drawn by a second-grader?
Lawyers cited with contempt of court after scuffle in St. Tammany courthouse [New Orleans Times Picayune]

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