In re: William Goode, No. 15-30643 (5th Cir. 2016)Annotate this Case
Appellant, a criminal defense attorney practicing in Lafayette, Louisiana, challenged his six-month suspension from the Western District of Louisiana. The suspension was imposed due to his violation of L. Crim. R. 53.5, which operates as a prior restraint against attorney speech during the pendency of a criminal trial. The court concluded that, under the plain language of Rule 53.5, appellant falls within the scope of the rule as an attorney associated with the defense where appellant stressed that, although he was not counsel of record, he was helping the defendant with his case, appellant assisted the defendant with trial preparation, and appellant attended several of the pretrial hearings. The court also concluded that the district court was not required to make a finding of bad faith before sanctioning appellant. Finally, the court held that Rule 53.5 is unconstitutional as applied to appellant and the court need not address appellant's facial challenge. Rule 53.5 does not incorporate either a “substantial likelihood standard” or even a “reasonable likelihood” standard, as required under United States v. Brown. In this case, the Government failed to demonstrate that the prior restraint is narrowly tailored and provides the least restrictive means to achieve the Government's goal. Accordingly, the court reversed and remanded.