Supreme Court holds lawyer in contempt - Albuquerque Journal

Supreme Court holds lawyer in contempt

The state Supreme Court found suspended attorney Victor Marshall in contempt of court Wednesday and fined him $2,000 for his “outrageous” conduct during a hearing on whether he had violated the terms of his suspension and was continuing to practice law.

Marshall, who was indefinitely suspended for at least a year in January, said he wanted to address the court in his defense. But Chief Justice Shannon Bacon said since he is not currently a licensed attorney, Marshall would have to be placed under oath first.

Attorney Victor Marshall

Marshall balked. He cited the First Amendment, claimed a violation of his due process rights and said he wanted to “seek redress in federal court.”

Marshall, a former state legislator from Albuquerque, repeatedly interrupted Bacon until she finally halted the hearing and the justices walked out of the courtroom.

When they returned minutes later, Bacon announced she had spoken with the court’s “IT folks” to mute Marshall, who was appearing at the hearing remotely.

The court ultimately found him in contempt of court for failing to adequately notify his clients, opposing counsel and judges on his cases of his suspension. He was also accused acting as an attorney in asking the courts to keep his cases on hold.

For that, the Supreme Court added another six months to Marshall’s indefinite suspension and threatened to permanently suspend him if he didn’t comply with the notifications.

The court also found him in “direct contempt” for his behavior during the hearing, ordering him to pay $2,000 to the New Mexico Client Protection Fund, which is used to reimburse losses caused by dishonest lawyers in the state.

“There is no question that Mr. Marshall’s conduct before the New Mexico Supreme Court today was contemptuous and in fact it was aggressive and outrageous,” Bacon added.

Marshall, who has practiced law for 47 years, was suspended after he claimed a former appeals court judge was biased in approving a major water rights settlement in 2013.

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