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Attorney reprimanded for response to harassing calls

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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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  • bad decision
    This is a bad decision. This impinges the lawyer's free speech in favor of another aggrieved group. Used to be lawyers were for individual rights. Now its powerful groups versus individuals with lawyers rights trampled right along the way.

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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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