October 6, 2009
Mr. E. David Deshotels, Chief Indigent Defender
Allen Parish Indigent Defender Office
33rd Judicial District
P.O. Box 399
Oberlin, LA 70655
RE: Louisiana Board of Ethics Docket No. 2009-759
Dear Mr. Deshotels:
The Louisiana Board of Ethics, at its September 30, 2009 meeting, considered your request for an advisory opinion concerning whether attorney Craig Hill may become a part-time salaried employee of the Allen Parish Indigent Defenders Office (IDB). You state that the Indigent Defender Board is created under the executive branch of state government. You state that Mr. Hill’s mother is the State Legislator from District 32. Mr. Hill is currently appointed to represent indigents on an case by case basis as needed. If it is not possible for Mr. Hill to be employed on a part-time basis, you request an opinion as to whether Mr. Hill may continue to be appointed to represent indigents on a case by case basis. You further request an opinion as to whether Mr. Hill would be required to disclose any financial information as either a part-time employee of the IDB or as an appointed indigent defender.
The Board concluded, and instructed me to inform you, that the Code of Governmental Ethics would not prohibit from being employed as a part-time salaried employee of the IDB, but that the Code would prohibit Mr. Hill from contracting with the IDB to represent indigents. Section 1119A of the Code prohibits an immediate family member of an agency head from being employed by that agency. Section 1102(a)(iv) defines a legislator's agency as the legislative branch. Mr. Hill would not be employed within the legislative branch; therefore, no conflict is presented under Section 1119. As a part-time salaried employee of the IDB, Mr. Hill would not be subject to financial disclosure pursuant to Section 1114 of the Code.
The Board further concluded, and instructed me to inform you, that Section 1113D of the Code would prohibit Mr. Hill from rendering services to the IDB on a contractual basis. Section 1113D prohibits immediate family members of members of a legislator from entering into any contract with state government, unless such contract is awarded by competitive bidding pursuant to Chapter 10, Title 38 of the Louisiana Revised Statutes, or is competitively negotiated through a request for proposal or similar process in accordance with Chapter 16 or 17 of Title 39.
The Board issues no opinion as to laws other than the Code of Governmental Ethics. This advisory opinion is based solely on the facts as set forth herein. Changes to the facts as presented may result in a different application of the provisions of the Code of Ethics. If you have any further questions, please contact me at (225) 219-5600 or at (800) 842-6630.
LOUISIANA BOARD OF ETHICS
For the Board