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Conour defender asks to withdraw from 7th Circuit appeal

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The public defender appointed to represent convicted fraudster and former leading personal-injury attorney William Conour has asked the 7th Circuit Court of Appeals to withdraw from the case, citing an unspecified conflict of interest.

Conour, 66, was convicted last year in federal court in Indianapolis of stealing approximately $6.7 million from about 30 clients for whom he secured settlements of wrongful-death and personal-injury cases. He was sentenced to 10 years in prison on a single count of wire fraud – 10 years less than federal prosecutors sought and also less than the 14- to 17.5-year terms recommended in a presentencing report.

Attorney Sara J. Varner of Indiana Federal Community Defenders, Inc., moved to withdraw as Conour’s attorney last week. “Discussion with Mr. Conour has revealed a conflict of interest that prevents counsel from advising Mr. Conour further regarding his issues on appeal,” Varner’s filing says.

The filing comes just a couple of weeks after the government announced it wouldn’t pursue an appeal of Conour’s sentence that prosecutors believed was too lenient.

Varner’s motion also indicates apparent misunderstanding regarding Conour’s appellate posture.

“Following the dismissal of the United States appeal, counsel has been in contact with Mr. Conour regarding his intentions to proceed with his appeal. Prior to the United States dismissal, it was understood by counsel that Mr. Conour did not intend to proceed if the United States dismissed. That is no longer the case,” Varner wrote.

A day after Varner’s filing, the 7th Circuit ordered briefing in Conour’s appeal suspended pending a ruling on Varner’s motion to withdraw. Conour’s appellate brief had been due May 23. The case is United States of America v. William F. Conour, 13-3753.

Conour is serving his sentence at the Morgantown (W.Va.) Federal Correctional Institution. His projected release date is March 6, 2022.



 

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  1. The practitioners and judges who hail E-filing as the Saviour of the West need to contain their respective excitements. E-filing is federal court requires the practitioner to cram his motion practice into pigeonholes created by IT people. Compound motions or those seeking alternative relief are effectively barred, unless the practitioner wants to receive a tart note from some functionary admonishing about the "problem". E-filing is just another method by which courts and judges transfer their burden to practitioners, who are the really the only powerless components of the system. Of COURSE it is easier for the court to require all of its imput to conform to certain formats, but this imposition does NOT improve the quality of the practice of law and does NOT improve the ability of the practitioner to advocate for his client or to fashion pleadings that exactly conform to his client's best interests. And we should be very wary of the disingenuous pablum about the costs. The courts will find a way to stick it to the practitioner. Lake County is a VERY good example of this rapaciousness. Any one who does not believe this is invited to review the various special fees that system imposes upon practitioners- as practitioners- and upon each case ON TOP of the court costs normal in every case manually filed. Jurisprudence according to Aldous Huxley.

  2. Any attorneys who practice in federal court should be able to say the same as I can ... efiling is great. I have been doing it in fed court since it started way back. Pacer has its drawbacks, but the ability to hit an e-docket and pull up anything and everything onscreen is a huge plus for a litigator, eps the sole practitioner, who lacks a filing clerk and the paralegal support of large firms. Were I an Indiana attorney I would welcome this great step forward.

  3. Can we get full disclosure on lobbyist's payments to legislatures such as Mr Buck? AS long as there are idiots that are disrespectful of neighbors and intent on shooting fireworks every night, some kind of regulations are needed.

  4. I am the mother of the child in this case. My silence on the matter was due to the fact that I filed, both in Illinois and Indiana, child support cases. I even filed supporting documentation with the Indiana family law court. Not sure whether this information was provided to the court of appeals or not. Wish the case was done before moving to Indiana, because no matter what, there is NO WAY the state of Illinois would have allowed an appeal on a child support case!

  5. "No one is safe when the Legislature is in session."

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