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Disciplinary Actions - 7/3/13

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Indiana Lawyer Disciplinary Actions

The Indiana Supreme Court Disciplinary Commission brings charges against attorneys who have violated the state’s rules for admission to the bar and Rules of Professional Conduct. The Indiana Commission on Judicial Qualifications brings charges against judges, judicial officers, or judicial candidates for misconduct. Details of attorneys’ and judges’ actions for which they are being disciplined by the Supreme Court will be included unless they are not a matter of public record under the court’s rules.

Suspension
Phillip H. Chamberlain, of Monroe County, has been suspended per a June 11 order from the Indiana Supreme Court. His interim suspension became effective 15 days from the date of the order.

Chamberlain pleaded guilty in October 2012 to Class D felony counterfeiting. He requested and was granted an extension to May 15 to file a response to the request for suspension, but did not file any submission.

The Clear Creek attorney was arrested in 2008 and faced charges of Class C felonies fraudulent sale of securities, forgery, sale of unregistered securities and unregistered investment advisor. These charges were dismissed after he entered an agreement to plead guilty to the Class D felony.He was sentenced to 540 days in the Indiana Department of Correction with all but time served suspended, completion of 120 days of community service and ordered to pay $166 in court costs.

Carl C. Jones, of Lake County, has been suspended for at least six months without automatic reinstatement, per a June 17 order. Jones was convicted in November 2010 of Class A misdemeanor trafficking with an inmate. He delivered a letter from his client’s girlfriend offering to testify falsely about an alibi for the client, as well as letters from the client’s mother and brother, and other items.

In a 2007 Disciplinary Commission response, Jones said the letters confiscated were mailed to the client by the client’s mother. At his trial, he said he brought the letters to his client. He was found to have violated Indiana Professional Conduct Rules 8.4(b) and 8.4(c). The use of his position of trust as an attorney to traffic in contraband with an inmate is serious misconduct, and Jones’ untruthful response to the commission’s investigative inquiry was a substantial breach of professional ethics, the justices held. The costs of the proceeding are assessed against Jones.

Anthony T. Adolf, of Allen County, has been suspended for noncooperation with the Disciplinary Commission, effective immediately, per a June 20 order. Adolf was ordered to show cause as to why he shouldn’t be suspended for failing to cooperate with the commission’s investigation into a grievance. Adolf responded with a one-sentence answer and has not cooperated.

Adolf must also pay $512.22 for costs of prosecuting the proceeding.

Veronica M. Roby, of Madison County, has been suspended for noncooperation with the Disciplinary Commission, effective immediately, per a June 20 order. She has not submitted a response to the Supreme Court’s order to show cause issued in March regarding her failure to cooperate with the commission’s investigation of a grievance.

Roby must also pay $523.72 for the costs of prosecuting the proceeding.

Public reprimand
David E. Corbitt, of Marion County, has been publicly reprimanded, in a June 20 order, for violating Indiana Professional Conduct Rule 8.4(b). He pleaded guilty last year to Class A misdemeanors resisting law enforcement and operating a vehicle while intoxicated endangering a person.

Corbitt has no disciplinary history, is making restitution for property damage he caused, and has voluntarily engaged himself for assessment by the Indiana Judges and Lawyers Assistance Program, the order notes. The costs of the proceeding are assessed against him.

Resignation
Robert L. Collins, of Perry County, has resigned from the bar, per a June 20 order. A verified complaint for disciplinary action was filed against him in August 2010. Any disciplinary proceeds pending are dismissed as moot, and Collins must wait at least five years to petition for reinstatement.•

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  4. Mr. Levin says that the BMV engaged in misconduct--that the BMV (or, rather, someone in the BMV) knew Indiana motorists were being overcharged fees but did nothing to correct the situation. Such misconduct, whether engaged in by one individual or by a group, is called theft (defined as knowingly or intentionally exerting unauthorized control over the property of another person with the intent to deprive the other person of the property's value or use). Theft is a crime in Indiana (as it still is in most of the civilized world). One wonders, then, why there have been no criminal prosecutions of BMV officials for this theft? Government misconduct doesn't occur in a vacuum. An individual who works for or oversees a government agency is responsible for the misconduct. In this instance, somebody (or somebodies) with the BMV, at some time, knew Indiana motorists were being overcharged. What's more, this person (or these people), even after having the error of their ways pointed out to them, did nothing to fix the problem. Instead, the overcharges continued. Thus, the taxpayers of Indiana are also on the hook for the millions of dollars in attorneys fees (for both sides; the BMV didn't see fit to avail itself of the services of a lawyer employed by the state government) that had to be spent in order to finally convince the BMV that stealing money from Indiana motorists was a bad thing. Given that the BMV official(s) responsible for this crime continued their misconduct, covered it up, and never did anything until the agency reached an agreeable settlement, it seems the statute of limitations for prosecuting these folks has not yet run. I hope our Attorney General is paying attention to this fiasco and is seriously considering prosecution. Indiana, the state that works . . . for thieves.

  5. I'm glad that attorney Carl Hayes, who represented the BMV in this case, is able to say that his client "is pleased to have resolved the issue". Everyone makes mistakes, even bureaucratic behemoths like Indiana's BMV. So to some extent we need to be forgiving of such mistakes. But when those mistakes are going to cost Indiana taxpayers millions of dollars to rectify (because neither plaintiff's counsel nor Mr. Hayes gave freely of their services, and the BMV, being a state-funded agency, relies on taxpayer dollars to pay these attorneys their fees), the agency doesn't have a right to feel "pleased to have resolved the issue". One is left wondering why the BMV feels so pleased with this resolution? The magnitude of the agency's overcharges might suggest to some that, perhaps, these errors were more than mere oversight. Could this be why the agency is so "pleased" with this resolution? Will Indiana motorists ever be assured that the culture of incompetence (if not worse) that the BMV seems to have fostered is no longer the status quo? Or will even more "overcharges" and lawsuits result? It's fairly obvious who is really "pleased to have resolved the issue", and it's not Indiana's taxpayers who are on the hook for the legal fees generated in these cases.

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