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Attorney reprimanded for response to harassing calls

May 11, 2010

The Indiana Supreme Court has publicly reprimanded an Indianapolis attorney who responded to harassing phone calls and pre-recorded messages to her unlisted phone number by asking a company representative if he was “gay” or “sweet.”

In the May 7 order that was posted online Monday, the justices unanimously imposed a public reprimand against attorney Stacy L. Kelley, who’s been practicing since 1996. This is her first disciplinary action, according to the order and state Roll of Attorneys.

In June 2008, Kelley began receiving persistent calls and pre-recorded messages on her unlisted phone number from a company asking for someone by the name of her husband. The couple agreed that Kelley would call the toll-free number left in the messages, according to the court’s order. She called and spoke with a male representative and identified her husband as her client. She then noted what she thought was a “feminine-sounding voice” and gratuitously asked the representative if he was “gay” or “sweet,” the order says. After the company representative commented on the unprofessional nature of her question, the phone conversation ended abruptly.

Mitigating facts are that Kelley had no prior disciplinary history, she fully cooperated with the Disciplinary Commission, she had a history of providing service to the legal profession, her comments were made after enduring harassing phone calls to her home, and she demonstrated her remorse by apologizing to the company representative.

The court found that the parties agree that Kelley violated Indiana Professional Conduct Rule 8.4(g), which prohibits engaging in conduct, in a professional capacity, that manifested bias or prejudice based upon sexual orientation, and this conduct was not legitimate advocacy.
 

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