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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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