Oscar Stilley, the convicted lawyer who sued a Texas abortion doctor, was disbarred over litigation conduct

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Oscar Stilley seen here in 2007, when he was still a practicing attorney. Photo by Mike Wintroath/The Associated Press.

The disbarred lawyer who filed a suit seeking a bounty against a Texas abortion doctor has a long history of lawsuits against government officials in his home state of Arkansas.

Oscar Stilley was one of the first people to sue Dr. Alan Braid, the doctor who admitted in a Washington Post op-ed that he performed an abortion that violated a Texas law.

The Washington Post described Stilley as an anti-tax crusader who “spent years using ballot initiatives and the court system to advocate for taxpayers and test government officials” in Arkansas.

Stilley’s bizarre abortion suit criticized the tax fraud charges that led to his conviction and cited “information and belief” that Braid “is kind and patient and helpful toward bastards but ideologically opposed to forcing any woman to produce another bastard against her own free will.”

Stilley is also seeking to intervene in the Department of Justice’s suit seeking to block the Texas abortion law, Law & Crime reports. Stilley said he has invested $295.29 in his Texas lawsuit, and he “plans future litigation against various defendants not yet known, should all or part of [the Texas abortion law] be declared constitutional.”

Stilley’s name was in the news long before his federal sentencing in 2010 for allegedly using his IOLTA account and other means to help a client avoid taxes. The client had formed the Bondage Breakers Ministry and then maintained that all funds that he received were gifts to his ministry, and he had no income for tax purposes.

Stilley gathered signatures in Arkansas for a ballot initiative to eliminate the state property tax, sued school and city officials to stop the collection of taxes, and targeted state officials in lawsuits, according to the Washington Post. He once sought to disqualify all the judges on the Arkansas Supreme Court in one of his cases.

Stilley was placed on interim suspension in 2007 and disbarred in 2010. Ethics regulators have alleged that Stilley tried to relitigate issues that had previously been decided, was disrespectful to courts and judges, sued judges who ruled against him, and violated court orders. A special judge found that all charges of misconduct had been proven, and the Arkansas Supreme Court adopted the findings.

“Stilley has refused to accept the finality of decisions rendered by courts of competent jurisdiction,” the Arkansas Supreme Court said. “Instead, he has consistently engaged in conduct intended to harass opposing counsel and judges with whom he disagrees. In so doing, he has wasted vast amounts of time and judicial resources. He has also been unwilling to obey direct orders of the court and has withheld material information from state and federal courts.”

Still, Arkansas officials who opposed Stilley told the Washington Post that they like Stilley personally. Although he is persistent, they said, he is not mean-spirited. They also noted that he had an ability to attract news coverage in his anti-tax crusades.

The Washington Post reports that Stilley was the son of a Baptist minister and a mother who cleaned houses and took care of elderly neighbors. He grew up in rural Arkansas and dropped out of school in eighth grade. He said he decided to go to law school after the person he worked for and this person’s business were ruined by the Internal Revenue Service.

He took the high school equivalency exam and managed to graduate from college in three years. He attended law school at the University of Arkansas at Fayetteville and practiced law in Fort Smith, Arkansas.

Stilley is serving the rest of his 15-year sentence on home confinement in Cedarville, Arkansas.

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