Kentucky lawmakers push bill seemingly aimed at suspended 'bad boy' lawyer Eric Deters

·2 min read

LOUISVILLE, Ky. — In a move seemingly aimed at suspended attorney Eric Deters, who has continued to practice law on a suspended license, the House Judiciary Committee has passed a bill to enhance the penalties on the unauthorized practice of law.

The Courier Journal reported in October how the Northern Kentucky lawyer last year masterminded unsuccessful federal anti-vaccination lawsuits despite being suspended from practice eight years earlier.

The Kentucky Bar Association responded by filing a motion asking the Kentucky Supreme Court to find Deters in contempt, for which he could be jailed or fined. But Deters vowed to defy the court and called the motion bull----.”

On a 14-2 vote, the judiciary panel passed HB 256, which would raise the maximum penalty for a first offense from a misdemeanor punishable by up to 90 days to one punishable by up to 12 months in jail.

Subsequent offenses would be a felony carrying a sentence of one to five years.

“The issue is, we don't want people to continue acting out and practicing law without a license,” Rep. Ed Massie, a Northern Kentucky lawyer and chairman of the committee, said at a hearing.

The bill’s sponsor, Rep. Dan Elliott, R-Danville, said he is not familiar with the specifics of Deter's situation, but believes the law and its enhanced penalties would apply to lawyers who practice while suspended.

The lone Republican vote against the bill in committee — Rep. Jason Nemes, a Louisville attorney — disagreed with Elliott, saying the proposed bill would only apply to lawyers whose license was revoked, not suspended.

The Kentucky Bar Association's executive director, John Meyers, said it did not request the legislation.

Eric Deters
Eric Deters

Deters said he could "care less" about the bill because "I didn't commit a crime.' He also said he thinks the legislature has more important issues to solve.

Refusing to reinstate him last June, the Supreme Court said he had a “notorious propensity” for filing malicious and frivolous lawsuits and seemed unable to control himself.

"Deters' practice of law is not governed by the constitution, rule of law or procedure,” the court said. "It is anarchy."

Deters has filed a declaration of intent to run for governor in 2023 as a Republican, personally loaning $5,000 to his campaign in November.

This article originally appeared on Louisville Courier Journal: Kentucky lawmakers seemingly take aim at suspended lawyer Eric Deters

Our goal is to create a safe and engaging place for users to connect over interests and passions. In order to improve our community experience, we are temporarily suspending article commenting