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Justices: judicial discipline now moot

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The Indiana Supreme Court has ended a disciplinary action against a former LaPorte Superior judge who'd served in senior capacity for three years because that jurist has retired and will no longer practice law.

A unanimous order issued by the court today dismisses without prejudice the case against Judge Walter P. Chapala, who faced five misconduct accusations for his actions while serving as an elected judge from 2001 to 2004. The Indiana Commission on Judicial Qualifications late last year accused him of suspending a defendant's sentence in exchange for donations to court programs, and also the judge's alleged involvement in a relative's case over which he presided.

A two-day hearing was set to begin March 12, but that's now been dismissed. The judge has been acting in senior status since 2005, but is no longer certified in that capacity, and he filed a retirement affidavit on Feb. 25, according to the court order.

"The allegations of misconduct here are most serious," the court wrote. "But the effect of the most likely sanctions that this Court would impose if it were to find Judge Chapala guilty has already been achieved with his resignation from the bench, the termination of his service as a Senior Judge, and his retirement from the bar. We therefore find that the matter is effectively moot and the continued litigation of this matter an inefficient use of limited judicial resources."

The judicial disciplinary commission can re-file charges against Judge Chapala if he ever seeks reinstatement as an attorney in Indiana or anywhere else.

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  1. CCHP's real accomplishment is the 2015 law signed by Gov Pence that basically outlaws any annexation that is forced where a 65% majority of landowners in the affected area disagree. Regardless of whether HP wins or loses, the citizens of Indiana will not have another fiasco like this. The law Gov Pence signed is a direct result of this malgovernance.

  2. I gave tempparry guardship to a friend of my granddaughter in 2012. I went to prison. I had custody. My daughter went to prison to. We are out. My daughter gave me custody but can get her back. She was not order to give me custody . but now we want granddaughter back from friend. She's 14 now. What rights do we have

  3. This sure is not what most who value good governance consider the Rule of Law to entail: "In a letter dated March 2, which Brizzi forwarded to IBJ, the commission dismissed the grievance “on grounds that there is not reasonable cause to believe that you are guilty of misconduct.”" Yet two month later reasonable cause does exist? (Or is the commission forging ahead, the need for reasonable belief be damned? -- A seeming violation of the Rules of Profession Ethics on the part of the commission) Could the rule of law theory cause one to believe that an explanation is in order? Could it be that Hoosier attorneys live under Imperial Law (which is also a t-word that rhymes with infamy) in which the Platonic guardians can do no wrong and never owe the plebeian class any explanation for their powerful actions. (Might makes it right?) Could this be a case of politics directing the commission, as celebrated IU Mauer Professor (the late) Patrick Baude warned was happening 20 years ago in his controversial (whisteblowing) ethics lecture on a quite similar topic: http://www.repository.law.indiana.edu/cgi/viewcontent.cgi?article=1498&context=ilj

  4. I have a case presently pending cert review before the SCOTUS that reveals just how Indiana regulates the bar. I have been denied licensure for life for holding the wrong views and questioning the grand inquisitors as to their duties as to state and federal constitutional due process. True story: https://www.scribd.com/doc/299040839/2016Petitionforcert-to-SCOTUS Shorter, Amici brief serving to frame issue as misuse of govt licensure: https://www.scribd.com/doc/312841269/Thomas-More-Society-Amicus-Brown-v-Ind-Bd-of-Law-Examiners

  5. Here's an idea...how about we MORE heavily regulate the law schools to reduce the surplus of graduates, driving starting salaries up for those new grads, so that we can all pay our insane amount of student loans off in a reasonable amount of time and then be able to afford to do pro bono & low-fee work? I've got friends in other industries, radiology for example, and their schools accept a very limited number of students so there will never be a glut of new grads and everyone's pay stays high. For example, my radiologist friend's school accepted just six new students per year.

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