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COA finds attorney in contempt

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The Indiana Court of Appeals issued an order Friday holding an attorney in contempt. The order came about because of questionable conduct by the court-appointed attorney.

At a hearing Nov. 14, the attorney, Allen C. Mattson, admitted the allegations against him were true.

Mattson was appointed to represent Michael A. Quillen in Blackford Circuit Court. Mattson was also appointed as appellate counsel for Quillen. From March 14 through July 30, 2007, Mattson filed two motions for extensions, a plea for extension of time to file with an insufficient certificate of service, and a belated notice of cause and plea for extension to file a brief in the appeal. Mattson was granted a final extension in August. The brief and appendix were not timely filed, and Quillen's appeal was dismissed in September. Mattson filed a motion to reinstate the appeal in October and was ordered Oct. 29 to show cause at the Nov. 14 hearing why he shouldn't be held in contempt of court.

Mattson confirmed during the hearing he had not timely filed briefs for another court-appointed client, Emigdio Lopez, and was found in contempt of court.

Mattson was ordered to withdraw his appearances for Quillen and Lopez and to forfeit all appellate fees for his legal services dealing with these cases. Mattson was also ordered to pay a $250 fine, which was stayed subject to the outcome of his contact with the Indiana Judges and Lawyers Assistance Program.

The court also ordered Blackford Circuit Court to appoint new counsel to represent Quillen and Lopez in their respective criminal appeals.

At the hearing and in his response to the Oct. 29 order, Mattson presented evidence showing he had been suffering from physical health issues that impaired his ability to be productive and timely on these cases. Judges Mark Bailey, Melissa May and Senior Judge George Hoffman Jr. in the per curiam opinion acknowledged that in mitigation Mattson presented evidence of his health issues and his impaired ability to represent the mentioned clients. Chief Judge John Baker signed the contempt order.
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  3. 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.

  4. 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.

  5. 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.

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