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Attorney must register as a sex offender

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An attorney and former Democratic candidate for Gibson County prosecutor indicted on charges including possession of child pornography and false informing, entered into a plea agreement Tuesday that wouldn’t have required he register as a sex offender. After further review, the trial judge realized Indiana law requires him to do so.

William Wallace was indicted in June 2010 on charges of Class D felonies obstruction of justice and possession of child pornography, Class A misdemeanor patronizing a prostitute, and Class B misdemeanor false informing. He also faced a Class D felony voyeurism charge. The charges stem from Wallace allegedly videotaping himself having sex with a former client and employee without her permission. He allegedly told the client that if the two had sex, he would write off money she owed him for legal fees. When police executed a search warrant of his home, they took computers, on which they found child pornography.

Wallace entered into a guilty plea Tuesday in Gibson Superior Court, pleading guilty to the Class D felonies obstruction of justice and possession of child pornography. Those convictions would be amended to Class A misdemeanors upon successful completion of probation and as long as Wallace had no other arrests or convictions while serving his sentence. He was sentenced to 18 months at the Indiana Department of Correction, with the first 90 days served on GPS home detention and the remainder served on probation. He also had to pay court costs and fines, complete 50 hours of community service and attend counseling.

As part of his plea agreement, he would not be required to register as a sex offender because the conviction would later be amended to a misdemeanor. But this is not permitted under Indiana law, Judge Earl Penrod concluded at a hearing Thursday afternoon. The judge issued an amended sentencing order that kept the original sentence intact except for Wallace’s Class D felony conviction of possession of child pornography.

Indiana law requires someone convicted of child pornography to register as a sex offender, contrary to what was discussed during negotiations and court proceedings, Penrod wrote in the amended sentencing order. He gave Wallace the option of withdrawing his guilty plea or allowing the original plea to stand with corrections made regarding the child pornography conviction. Wallace chose to not withdraw his previous plea of guilty and objected to the correcting of the sentence.

The Class D felony will not be amended to a Class A misdemeanor and now Wallace must register as a sex offender.

At Tuesday’s hearing, Wallace also offered his intent to plead guilty to the Class D felony voyeurism charge, which is currently before the Indiana Court of Appeals on interlocutory appeal regarding whether that charge can stand. Penrod took his intent to plead guilty under advisement until the COA makes its decision.
 

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  1. Bill Satterlee is, indeed, a true jazz aficionado. Part of my legal career was spent as an associate attorney with Hoeppner, Wagner & Evans in Valparaiso. Bill was instrumental (no pun intended) in introducing me to jazz music, thereby fostering my love for this genre. We would, occasionally, travel to Chicago on weekends and sit in on some outstanding jazz sessions at Andy's on Hubbard Street. Had it not been for Bill's love of jazz music, I never would have had the good fortune of hearing it played live at Andy's. And, most likely, I might never have begun listening to it as much as I do. Thanks, Bill.

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  5. Additional Points: -Civility in the profession: Treating others with respect will not only move others to respect you, it will show a shared respect for the legal system we are all sworn to protect. When attorneys engage in unnecessary personal attacks, they lose the respect and favor of judges, jurors, the person being attacked, and others witnessing or reading the communication. It's not always easy to put anger aside, but if you don't, you will lose respect, credibility, cases, clients & jobs or job opportunities. -Read Rule 22 of the Admission & Discipline Rules. Capture that spirit and apply those principles in your daily work. -Strive to represent clients in a manner that communicates the importance you place on the legal matter you're privileged to handle for them. -There are good lawyers of all ages, but no one is perfect. Older lawyers can learn valuable skills from younger lawyers who tend to be more adept with new technologies that can improve work quality and speed. Older lawyers have already tackled more legal issues and worked through more of the problems encountered when representing clients on various types of legal matters. If there's mutual respect and a willingness to learn from each other, it will help make both attorneys better lawyers. -Erosion of the public trust in lawyers wears down public confidence in the rule of law. Always keep your duty to the profession in mind. -You can learn so much by asking questions & actively listening to instructions and advice from more experienced attorneys, regardless of how many years or decades you've each practiced law. Don't miss out on that chance.

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