logo
header
Intro home overview campaigns courtroom reflections contact
plant bkg.

“I prefer the crook who I know is a crook than the alleged guy in
a white hat who I don’t know.”

Mr. Hartley has been a prosecutor and practices criminal, municipal, civil and maritime law including personal injury, divorce and succession. He has been prosecutor for the Attorney General's and Sheriff’s Offices and has been a key player in major criminal defense cases. He has a Master’s in Maritime Law and has worked in the healthcare industry since 1990.

The Stewardess Case, 1971. Mr. Hartley is only a lawyer three days when he argues his first case in front of a 3 judge federal court to determine obscenity. The Court follows the Community Standard Doctrine (what is obscene in one town may not be obscene in the next town ten miles away).

Racing Commission Case, 1972-73. With Jack Yelverston, Chief of Criminal Division and Billy Guste, Attorney General in the room, Mr. Hartley contends that the Jacobs Family (one of the five families from New York) is trying to control the concessions at the racing grounds. Individuals investigating the Jacobs Family had already been injured and killed. When Mr. Hartley is personallyportrait 2threatened by one of their lawyers he immediately requests to speak with Joe Marcellos (both families were once neighbors on Dumaine Street and he was familiar with Joe, brother of Carlos, and his nephew). Mr. Hartley understands that any activity originating outside of Louisiana is done with the Marcellos family’s knowledge and approval. The presence of the Jacobs Family in Louisiana would be no exception.

During the meeting Joe Marcellos remains quiet but cordial. A few days later, and somewhat unexpectedly, the Jacobs Family agrees to the following terms: 1. They would leave Louisiana; 2. All their assets would be put in trust with Hibernia National Bank; and 3. They could never become involved with Louisiana racing again.

For this trial Mr. Hartley learns racing commission law. In future cases, he will learn Admiralty and Healthcare law as well.


Ferman v. Georgia, 1972-73. The United States Supreme Court had reversed all death penalty cases for the entire country. Of all 50 states, Louisiana had the most inmates on death row at the time. Mr. Hartley’s responsibilities were to write briefs on each case and have inmates re-sentenced to life. Representing the 63 Louisiana District Attorneys, Mr. Hartley would argue 4-5 cases at each Supreme Court session every six weeks.

1974-1981. Attorney for Orleans Parish Sheriff’s Office; 1974-1985, personal attorney for then Sheriff Foti, currently Louisiana’s Attorney General.

Hamilton v. Schiro, 1968-1987. This complaint was filed in the Eastern District of Louisiana challenging conditions in the New Orleans Parish Prison. When Mr. Hartley worked for the AG’s Office from 1971-1974 he was asked to look into the prisoner overpopulation problem in Orleans Parish prisons. Now as Chief Deputy and lead attorney for Sheriff Foti’s Office, Mr. Hartley is assigned to the Hamilton v. Schiro case and argues to keep the prisons open, contending that inmates were not cruelly treated. There are 700 inmates; the judge requests that the number be reduced to 100.

Mr. Hartley handles this case until its conclusion in 1987. His responsibilities are to defend the Sheriff’s Office and keep inmates behind bars. He argues that instead of tearing down Parish Prison, that it should be remodeled after current standards. The judge agrees. A new CCC (Community Correction Center) is constructed during Mr. Hartley’s tenure.


Kiefer v. Morial, 1977. When Senator Nat Kiefer entered the mayoral race, and Ernest “Dutch” Morial was a Fourth Circuit Court judge, Mr. Hartley argued that the Louisiana Constitution stated that if a candidate for office is a judge he first has to resign before seeking any office other than that of judgeship. A federal judge, however, interceded, and noted that the law was unconstitutional as it applied to the current election. The Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals countered and wrote that a single judge did not have the authority to rule a state law unconstitutional, and that it required a 3 judge panel to execute the order.

Once the case reached the Louisiana Supreme Court, Mr. Hartley helps write the briefs which Gipson Tucker argued. There the Court agreed that although Louisiana’s Constitution states “ipso facto, null and void” a sitting judge cannot seek office without first resigning, it would allow the single judge’s ruling to stand.

Privately, of course, Mr. Hartley was disappointed that the judiciary interceded and viewed the results of its decision as a violation of the U.S. Constitution. Later he would point out a similar abuse of the Constitution as it applied to the 2000 Presidential election.


U.S. v. Garcia, 1981. This was Mr. Hartley’s first involvement with federal drug laws and an early case as a criminal defense lawyer. The lead lawyer was the #1 trial lawyer in the state, F. Irwin Diamond, attorney for Clay Shaw during the Kennedy hearings.

Four Garcia brothers were accused of importing the largest shipment of marijuana into the country, 54,000 pounds. Mr. Hartley was unaware that his clients had ties to Iran-Contra. Because each man was required to have his own attorney, Mr. Hartley brought in other attorneys to represent them to avoid a conflict of interest.

After several other successful defense trials, including the largest cocaine bust in Louisiana, Mr. Hartley earns a noted reputation as a criminal defense lawyer and has other lawyers around the country seeking his counsel, such as Roy Black, defense attorney for the Kennedys.


1981-1982. Mr. Hartley establishes a strong personal injury practice, representing a number of contractors from around the state. He is also sharing a civil defense practice with Nat Kiefer and conducting his own criminal defense practice.

1983. Insurance defense work. Any case that a major insurance agent lost in trial would be handed over to Mr. Hartley who would conduct appellate work at the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals for million dollar judgements. There he would represent cases from the entire south, write briefs and make his arguments before the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals.

Windsor Dennis v. Copelin, 1988. In 1970, Congress passed the Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations (RICO) Act. At the time, Congress' goal was to eliminate the ill-affects of organized crime on the nation's economy. Windsor Dennis v. Copelin was a RICO case made against then Representative Sherman Copelin and others regarding a liquor distributorship. The Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals ruled favorably for Mr. Hartley and his clients.

Mr. Hartley remained personal attorney for Sherman Copelin throughout his entire political career (1987-1999). Mr. Hartley has been personal attorney for numerous public officials, including State Senators Jon Johnson and Mike Robichaux.

1989-1994. Healthcare. As head attorney for Health Corporation of the South, Mr. Hartley advised his board in 1990 to apply for dispensing licenses for each of its five clinics. The Board refused and when the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals closed another clinic’s doors (Delta Women’s Clinic) for not complying with a law that allowed doctors to only write prescriptions from their offices (hospitals and medical centers were not offices), an investigation was begun into Health Corporation of the South.

Then acting U.S. Attorney Robert Boitman, an acquaintance of Mr. Hartley’s from LSU, sent a letter to Health Corporation and noted that for each written methadone prescription there would be assessed a $10,000 fine. Mr. Hartley, finding this to be “the most abusive interpretation of federal law,” goes to Washington to iron out a settlement with the help of Elliot Richardson. Health Corporation denies all liability and refuses to pay a 17 million dollar fine. Both parties come to terms and the Corporation agrees to pay 1 million dollars instead.

When Mr. Hartley later meets in the board room of the U.S. Attorney’s office, he discovers that the opposing lawyers changed the wording to an agreed upon press release. Instantly he makes a conference call to Attorney General Janet Reno and Robert Boitman. Both parties acknowledge his complaint; the wording is changed back to its original form and the case is closed.


Deadbeat Dad Law, 1996. Mr. Hartley handles the first Louisiana case in which an individual is charged for allegedly not paying child support. Mr. Hartley threatens to bring to court every accused deadbeat dad and overload the judiciary system. The case is dismissed.

Succession of Gross, 1999. Five Louisiana children are injured and a mother dies in car accident in Alabama. Alabama lawyers contact Mr. Hartley who immediately begins a Tudorship proceeding. The father, who never had any contact with the children, files as a “Friend of the Court.” At this point an Alabama judge requests that Mr. Hartley handle the children’s case.

A Houston law firm assigned to other Chrysler mini van cases offers Mr. Hartley $300,000. Mr. Hartley’s terms are 2.5 million dollars to which an Alabama judge agrees. The father sues and a Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals rules that father is “Rightful Friend” of the children and that he should receive the disbursement.

Mr. Hartley’s defense is based on the cornerstone of Louisiana law–“the best interest of the children.” He argues that Louisiana law should apply in this case, and not Alabama law. The First Circuit Court of Appeals agrees with Mr. Hartley. He further agrees to pay the father $2,500 and if the father refuses, he will prosecute him as a “deadbeat dad.” The father, of course, accepts the proposal and the Supreme Court dismisses the appeal.

Afterwards Mr. Hartley wrote a letter to all 144 Louisiana representatives and 39 senators objecting to a proposed amendment to the Civil Code on Tudorship. In Mr. Hartley’s judgement, “it would be giving lawyers a right to steal,” and would not protect children, the disabled or mentally handicapped of this state.

BACK TO TOP