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Agency wants one-year suspension

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Indiana Lawyer Rehearing

The Indiana Supreme Court’s Disciplinary Commission argues that a hearing officer’s recommendation of a public reprimand against Delaware County Prosecutor Mark McKinney is inadequate and the elected official should receive a one-year suspension.

In a 12-page brief filed Oct. 29, the commission analyzed the findings and recommendations submitted to the Indiana Supreme Court in late September by hearing officer and then-Boone Circuit Judge Steven David, who’s since been elevated to the state’s highest court. The former trial judge recommended a public reprimand in this case that revolves around McKinney’s personal private practice of pursuing civil forfeiture cases while serving as a deputy prosecutor and after becoming elected prosecutor. The disciplinary action is In The Matter of Mark R. McKinney, No. 18S00-0905-DI-220.

“The misconduct at issue here is serious and of long standing,” the brief states. “The Hearing Officer’s Findings of Fact and Conclusions of Law are clear and unequivocal; this respondent violated the law remorselessly. When viewed in the light of prior cases involving misconduct by prosecutors, the Hearing Officer’s recommendation of a public reprimand seems inappropriately low. Based on the prior cases, the Commission submits that a more appropriate resolution to this case would be to suspend the respondent indefinitely with leave to apply for reinstatement in no less than one year.”

McKinney can file a response brief to the commission’s claims and the hearing officer’s findings. Briefing should be finished by year’s end, and the justices will likely issue a disciplinary decision in 2011. McKinney completes his term as prosecutor this year after losing in the primary election, so he will no longer be in that position when the justices make a decision.

Rehearing "Discipline case poses questions on recusals, separation of powers" IL Oct. 13-26, 2010

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  1. Frankly, it is tragic that you are even considering going to an expensive, unaccredited "law school." It is extremely difficult to get a job with a degree from a real school. If you are going to make the investment of time, money, and tears into law school, it should not be to a place that won't actually enable you to practice law when you graduate.

  2. As a lawyer who grew up in Fort Wayne (but went to a real law school), it is not that hard to find a mentor in the legal community without your school's assistance. One does not need to pay tens of thousands of dollars to go to an unaccredited legal diploma mill to get a mentor. Having a mentor means precisely nothing if you cannot get a job upon graduation, and considering that the legal job market is utterly terrible, these students from Indiana Tech are going to be adrift after graduation.

  3. 700,000 to 800,000 Americans are arrested for marijuana possession each year in the US. Do we need a new justice center if we decriminalize marijuana by having the City Council enact a $100 fine for marijuana possession and have the money go towards road repair?

  4. I am sorry to hear this.

  5. I tried a case in Judge Barker's court many years ago and I recall it vividly as a highlight of my career. I don't get in federal court very often but found myself back there again last Summer. We had both aged a bit but I must say she was just as I had remembered her. Authoritative, organized and yes, human ...with a good sense of humor. I also appreciated that even though we were dealing with difficult criminal cases, she treated my clients with dignity and understanding. My clients certainly respected her. Thanks for this nice article. Congratulations to Judge Barker for reaching another milestone in a remarkable career.

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