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Blogger attorney’s disciplinary commission hearing to be public

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Indianapolis attorney Paul Ogden’s hearing next week before the Indiana Disciplinary Commission will be open to the public after he waived confidentiality that’s customary in such proceedings.

Ogden is accused in a verified complaint of violating Professional Conduct Rule 8.2 for criticizing Hendricks Superior Judge David Coleman in emails sent to opposing counsel in a concluded estate matter. Ogden also sent a letter to Marion Superior judges regarding asset distribution in forfeiture cases, which the commission charges is a violation of Rules 2.9 and 8.4(d) forbidding ex parte communications.

Ogden, who also writes the Ogden on Politics blog, counters that the case against him is an abuse of the attorney discipline process and violates his First Amendment rights.

Disciplinary Commission Executive Secretary G. Michael Witte confirmed Thursday that the proceeding would be public because Ogden waived confidentiality.

Hearing officer Robert W. York will preside over the final hearing at 10 a.m. Tuesday in the Indiana Supreme Court conference room.



 

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  • Travesty
    I agree with Terry. Perhaps if the judicial system didn’t spend so much time haranguing lawyers who speak out against judicial misconduct, the court/Disciplinary Commission could have pulled William Conour’s license and stopped him years earlier from taking even more millions from his disabled clients. Another attorney spoke out against Conour’s misconduct years ago, yet Conour continued to practice and continued to use his client’s settlements as his own “personal banking system.” Whoever is responsible for that colossal failure to act should be prosecuted by each of the clients who fell prey to Conour during that time frame. There needs to be a system of accountability for those who fail to act and to publicize misconduct of attorneys and judges to warn the public.
  • Only for Marxists???
    This case illustrates to me the serious consequences to the Bar itself of not affording the full protections of the First Amendment to its applicants for admission. For this record shows that Anastaplo has many of the qualities that are needed in the American Bar. 11 It shows, not only that Anastaplo has followed a high moral, ethical and patriotic course in all of the activities of his life, but also that he combines these more common virtues with the uncommon virtue of courage to stand by his principles at any cost. It is such men as these who have most greatly honored the profession of the law—men like Malsherbes, who, at the cost of his own life and the lives of his family, sprang unafraid to the defense of Louis XVI against the fanatical leaders of the Revolutionary government of France 12 —men like Charles Evans Hughes, Sr., later Mr. Chief Justice Hughes, who stood up for the constitutional rights of socialists to be socialists and public officials despite the threats and clamorous protests of self-proclaimed superpatriots 13 —men like Charles Evans Hughes, Jr., and John W. Davis, who, while against everything for which the Communists stood, strongly advised the Congress in 1948 that it would be unconstitutional to pass the law then proposed to outlaw the Communist Party 14 —men like Lord Erskine, James Otis, Clarence Darrow, and the multitude of others who have dared to speak in defense of causes and clients without regard to personal danger to themselves. The legal profession will lose much of its nobility and its glory if it is not constantly replenished with lawyers like these. To force the Bar to become a group of thoroughly orthodox, time-serving, government-fearing individuals is to humiliate and degrade it. But that is the present trend, not only in the legal profession but in almost every walk of life. Too many men are being driven to become government-fearing and time-serving because the Government is being permitted to strike out at those who are fearless enough to think as they please and say what they think. 15 This trend must be halted if we are to keep faith with the Founders of our Nation and pass on to future generations of Americans the great heritage of freedom which they sacrificed so much to leave to us. The choice is clear to me. If we are to pass on that great heritage of freedom, we must return to the original language of the Bill of Rights. We must not be afraid to be free. 366 U.S. 82 (81 S.Ct. 978, 6 L.Ed.2d 135) In re George ANASTAPLO, Petitioner. Mr. Justice BLACK, with whom THE CHIEF JUSTICE, Mr. Justice DOUGLAS and Mr. Justice BRENNAN concur, dissenting.
  • Thank you Paul
    It is attorneys like Paul who might just be able to save the profession from those bent on rendering all lawyers mere tools of legalistic oppression. It is a travesty that the modern bureacratic state, esp in Indiana, seeks such slavishness in its attorneys. Four Justices of the SCOTUS penned it very well more than half a century ago .... see the next post for that salient quote:
  • Disagree
    Publius, I could not disagree with you more on Donald Lundberg. The way he ran the disciplinary commission was a travesty. Witte is no better. His handling of the Conour case is worthy of an investigation. I'm not sure what motivated him to not take action when clearly there was funny business going on. We need a new disciplinary chief, someone who will be evenhanded when it comes to enforcing the rules.
  • Private Speech
    Publius, thanks. I would emphasize though this was private speech. I didn't put the criticism of the judge on my blog. It was a response email that went to attorneys and others involved in the case. This criticism of the judge was not new information to them. Rule 8.2 especially should not be used to go after private speech. And further, the United States Supreme Court has already said that attorneys have the same free speech rights as anyone else and that states cannot use attorney disciplinary rules to infringe upon that right with the exception of the narrow circumstance when an attorney is speaking out publicly about a pending case and that speech could interfere with a fair trial. An example of that was the Brizzi discipline for speaking out on the criminal case. If Rule 8.2 is taken to the extent the DC wants to take it to, every email, every phone conversation, every in person conversation in which an attorney criticizes a judge is open to discipline under Rule 8.2.
  • lawyers are watching this
    I have been talking to a lot of lawyers aboyut this and we are watching. We expect Paul will get a fair hearing. I don't think Mr Witte is an unjust man. He has a fine career behind him and has a difficult job. Likewise Mr Lundberg is a fine lawyer who handled the job well as he could, I expect. I do admire them both. However I feel there is an agenda being imposed from above that seeks to tie the tongues of lawyers. Over time, vested interests in our society have sought to make the adjudicative process more predictable. Controlling lawyers and stoppign them from pointign out embarassing things about judges has become part of the agenda but if it true and germane it is legimate advocacy and shold not be suppressed by the overuse of 8.2. Our rights of due process and trial by jury must be maintained by eternal vigilance, the price of freedom. As lawyers we are the first watchers and we must not blink.
  • Additional Information
    "Ogden also sent a letter to Marion Superior judges regarding asset distribution in forfeiture cases, which the commission charges is a violation of Rules 2.9 and 8.4(d) forbidding ex parte communications." I would just add that I had no cases before any of the judges and the civil forfeiture letter was copied to the prosecutor, the AG, and the public safety director, all the people involved, at trial and/or on appeal, with the division of money between the government entities. The letter dealt with the failure of judges to conduct the case-by-case determination of law enforcement costs with the balance going to the Common School Fund. Instead law enforcement has been allowed to keep 100% of the money for years in direct contravention of the law.

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  1. Applause, applause, applause ..... but, is this duty to serve the constitutional order not much more incumbent upon the State, whose only aim is to be pure and unadulterated justice, than defense counsel, who is also charged with gaining a result for a client? I agree both are responsible, but it seems to me that the government attorneys bear a burden much heavier than defense counsel .... "“I note, much as we did in Mechling v. State, 16 N.E.3d 1015 (Ind. Ct. App. 2014), trans. denied, that the attorneys representing the State and the defendant are both officers of the court and have a responsibility to correct any obvious errors at the time they are committed."

  2. Do I have to hire an attorney to get co-guardianship of my brother? My father has guardianship and my older sister was his co-guardian until this Dec 2014 when she passed and my father was me to go on as the co-guardian, but funds are limit and we need to get this process taken care of quickly as our fathers health isn't the greatest. So please advise me if there is anyway to do this our self or if it requires a lawyer? Thank you

  3. I have been on this program while on parole from 2011-2013. No person should be forced mentally to share private details of their personal life with total strangers. Also giving permission for a mental therapist to report to your parole agent that your not participating in group therapy because you don't have the financial mean to be in the group therapy. I was personally singled out and sent back three times for not having money and also sent back within the six month when you aren't to be sent according to state law. I will work to het this INSOMM's removed from this state. I also had twelve or thirteen parole agents with a fifteen month period. Thanks for your time.

  4. Our nation produces very few jurists of the caliber of Justice DOUGLAS and his peers these days. Here is that great civil libertarian, who recognized government as both a blessing and, when corrupted by ideological interests, a curse: "Once the investigator has only the conscience of government as a guide, the conscience can become ‘ravenous,’ as Cromwell, bent on destroying Thomas More, said in Bolt, A Man For All Seasons (1960), p. 120. The First Amendment mirrors many episodes where men, harried and harassed by government, sought refuge in their conscience, as these lines of Thomas More show: ‘MORE: And when we stand before God, and you are sent to Paradise for doing according to your conscience, *575 and I am damned for not doing according to mine, will you come with me, for fellowship? ‘CRANMER: So those of us whose names are there are damned, Sir Thomas? ‘MORE: I don't know, Your Grace. I have no window to look into another man's conscience. I condemn no one. ‘CRANMER: Then the matter is capable of question? ‘MORE: Certainly. ‘CRANMER: But that you owe obedience to your King is not capable of question. So weigh a doubt against a certainty—and sign. ‘MORE: Some men think the Earth is round, others think it flat; it is a matter capable of question. But if it is flat, will the King's command make it round? And if it is round, will the King's command flatten it? No, I will not sign.’ Id., pp. 132—133. DOUGLAS THEN WROTE: Where government is the Big Brother,11 privacy gives way to surveillance. **909 But our commitment is otherwise. *576 By the First Amendment we have staked our security on freedom to promote a multiplicity of ideas, to associate at will with kindred spirits, and to defy governmental intrusion into these precincts" Gibson v. Florida Legislative Investigation Comm., 372 U.S. 539, 574-76, 83 S. Ct. 889, 908-09, 9 L. Ed. 2d 929 (1963) Mr. Justice DOUGLAS, concurring. I write: Happy Memorial Day to all -- God please bless our fallen who lived and died to preserve constitutional governance in our wonderful series of Republics. And God open the eyes of those government officials who denounce the constitutions of these Republics by arbitrary actions arising out capricious motives.

  5. From back in the day before secularism got a stranglehold on Hoosier jurists comes this great excerpt via Indiana federal court judge Allan Sharp, dedicated to those many Indiana government attorneys (with whom I have dealt) who count the law as a mere tool, an optional tool that is not to be used when political correctness compels a more acceptable result than merely following the path that the law directs: ALLEN SHARP, District Judge. I. In a scene following a visit by Henry VIII to the home of Sir Thomas More, playwriter Robert Bolt puts the following words into the mouths of his characters: Margaret: Father, that man's bad. MORE: There is no law against that. ROPER: There is! God's law! MORE: Then God can arrest him. ROPER: Sophistication upon sophistication! MORE: No, sheer simplicity. The law, Roper, the law. I know what's legal not what's right. And I'll stick to what's legal. ROPER: Then you set man's law above God's! MORE: No, far below; but let me draw your attention to a fact I'm not God. The currents and eddies of right and wrong, which you find such plain sailing, I can't navigate. I'm no voyager. But in the thickets of law, oh, there I'm a forester. I doubt if there's a man alive who could follow me there, thank God... ALICE: (Exasperated, pointing after Rich) While you talk, he's gone! MORE: And go he should, if he was the Devil himself, until he broke the law! ROPER: So now you'd give the Devil benefit of law! MORE: Yes. What would you do? Cut a great road through the law to get after the Devil? ROPER: I'd cut down every law in England to do that! MORE: (Roused and excited) Oh? (Advances on Roper) And when the last law was down, and the Devil turned round on you where would you hide, Roper, the laws being flat? (He leaves *1257 him) This country's planted thick with laws from coast to coast man's laws, not God's and if you cut them down and you're just the man to do it d'you really think you would stand upright in the winds that would blow then? (Quietly) Yes, I'd give the Devil benefit of law, for my own safety's sake. ROPER: I have long suspected this; this is the golden calf; the law's your god. MORE: (Wearily) Oh, Roper, you're a fool, God's my god... (Rather bitterly) But I find him rather too (Very bitterly) subtle... I don't know where he is nor what he wants. ROPER: My God wants service, to the end and unremitting; nothing else! MORE: (Dryly) Are you sure that's God! He sounds like Moloch. But indeed it may be God And whoever hunts for me, Roper, God or Devil, will find me hiding in the thickets of the law! And I'll hide my daughter with me! Not hoist her up the mainmast of your seagoing principles! They put about too nimbly! (Exit More. They all look after him). Pgs. 65-67, A MAN FOR ALL SEASONS A Play in Two Acts, Robert Bolt, Random House, New York, 1960. Linley E. Pearson, Atty. Gen. of Indiana, Indianapolis, for defendants. Childs v. Duckworth, 509 F. Supp. 1254, 1256 (N.D. Ind. 1981) aff'd, 705 F.2d 915 (7th Cir. 1983)

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