Miss. court agrees to suspension of lawyer’s license

Published 3:39 am Sunday, May 25, 2008

The Mississippi Supreme Court has agreed to an indefinite suspension of Robert Arledge’s license to practice law while the Vicksburg attorney appeals a 2007 conviction on charges related to false diet drug settlement claims in Mississippi.

Arledge was convicted in federal court of seven counts of conspiracy and wire fraud in a scam bilking the drug company Wyeth out of more than $6.7 million. He was sentenced to 6 1/2 years in prison.

Arledge had been charged with knowingly allowing clients to make Fen-Phen claims of about $250,000 each even though they had no legitimate reason.

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Fen-Phen was a prescription diet drug pulled from the market in 1997 after research revealed it could cause heart problems.

Arledge did not oppose the suspension, according to court records.

In other cases involving attorneys, the Supreme Court on Thursday:

— Dismissed Azki Shah’s request for reinstatement to the practice of law. Shah was suspended in 2007 by the Supreme Court for three years.

It was the seventh time in less than eight years that Shah has been accused of misconduct. Shah had previously had his license suspended on two occasions, once for two years and again for six months. Shah had received three private reprimands and one informal admonition.

In the most recent incident, Shah was suspended for failing to file a complaint on behalf of a client and follow up with that client on the status of the complaint.

Presiding Justice Bill Waller Jr. said Shah’s petition was premature. He said Shah must wait until April 19, 2010 to file for reinstatement.

— Dismissed Gerald Baldwin Jr.’s request to be reinstated to the practice of law. The court said he could not ask again.

Baldwin was disbarred in 1999 after he pleaded guilty in Hinds County to possession of cocaine. Baldwin was sentenced to one year in prison and was fined $3,000.

In 2003, Baldwin’s petition for reinstatement was denied because Baldwin had not provided evidence of his rehabilitation, including the completion of drug treatment.

Justice Mike Randolph, writing for the court, said in his most recent request, Baldwin still did not show that he passed the Bar exam and a professional responsibility exam.

Randolph said Baldwin also provided no evidence that he had complied with the court’s rules of reinstatement.

— Denied the reinstatement petition of Robbie K. Asher, whose law practice in Hancock County had earlier been suspended by the court.

According to the court record, Asher allegedly forged the name of the county clerk and court stamp on a document that was never filed with the court. He was suspended from law practice for 18 months and again for 60 days for failing to follow requirements of the first suspension, according to the court record.

The Supreme Court had turned down two previous reinstatement requests, the latest in 1999.

Justice Randolph said the little evidence that Asher has provided about community service and moral character was inadequate considering his violations.

Randolph said Asher had also exhibited contemptuous behavior by failing to timely comply with sanctions earlier imposed upon him by the court.