Board of Professional Responsibility of The Supreme Court of Tennessee v. Larry Edward Parrish

Board of Professional Responsibility of The Supreme Court of Tennessee v. Larry Edward Parrish
W2017-00889-SC-R3-BP
This is a direct appeal of a disciplinary proceeding involving a Memphis attorney who filed motions to recuse containing pejorative statements about three appellate judges. A hearing panel of the Board of Professional Responsibility found that the attorney had violated multiple Rules of Professional Conduct and that his sanction should be a public censure. The trial court agreed that the attorney was guilty of misconduct but modified the hearing panel’s decision, determining that the appropriate sanction was a six-month suspension, with thirty days served on active suspension and the remainder on probation.  We hold that the attorney’s pejorative statements in the motions to recuse were not protected by the First Amendment and there was material and substantial evidence of noncompliance with the Rules of Professional Conduct. In addition, we hold that the hearing panel acted arbitrarily and capriciously in determining that the attorney should receive a public censure rather than suspension. We affirm the judgment of the trial court.
Authoring Judge: 
Justice Sharon G. Lee
Originating Judge: 
Senior Judge Robert E. Lee Davies
Date Filed: 
Tuesday, August 14, 2018