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COA upholds attorney's felony conviction

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The Indiana Court of Appeals affirmed the denial of an attorney's motion to have his prior drunk-driving conviction reduced to a misdemeanor because the attorney was arrested again for drunk driving before completing his probation.

In James R. Recker II v. State of Indiana, No. 49A04-0805-CR-262, James Recker was given probation and 180 hours of community service after pleading guilty to operating a vehicle while intoxicated as a Class D felony in March 2006. As part of the agreement, the trial court could enter the conviction as a misdemeanor after Recker completed his probation, which was set to expire in February 2007.

For his community service, Recker worked pro bono at various legal organizations. When his probation was set to expire, he still hadn't completed all the necessary hours. His probation was extended to give him time to complete them. At a hearing in December 2007, Recker argued he had finished the hours but Legal Services Organization hadn't reported all of his hours yet. Another hearing was set for Jan. 22, 2008.

Before that hearing, Recker was arrested and charged with operating a vehicle while intoxicated. At a new hearing in February 2008, he moved for his original conviction to be reduced because he completed community service prior to December 2007 and therefore wasn't on probation when he was arrested again. The trial court denied his motion.

Examining the applicable statute in this case, Indiana Code Section 35-38-1-1.5, the Court of Appeals unanimously affirmed the denial of Recker's motion. A trial court isn't required to convert a judgment to a Class A misdemeanor if it finds the defendant violated a condition set by the court or if the period of probation expired prior to the defendant successfully completing the conditions, wrote Judge James Kirsch. Recker violated two provisions of the statute: he didn't successfully complete the ordered 180 hours of community service before his probation originally expired in February 2007 and received several extensions in which to do so. As a result, the trial court wasn't required to convert his conviction, wrote Judge Kirsch.

Recker's drunk-driving arrest while on probation also prevented the trial court from reducing his earlier conviction, per I.C. Section 35-38-1-1.5(c).

The Indiana Supreme Court suspended Recker from the practice of law in Indiana March 13, 2009, pending further order from the high court or final resolution of any resulting disciplinary action, due to his being found guilty of operating a vehicle while intoxicated as a Class D felony with a habitual substance offender enhancement.

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  1. On a related note, I offered the ICLU my cases against the BLE repeatedly, and sought their amici aid repeatedly as well. Crickets. Usually not even a response. I am guessing they do not do allegations of anti-Christian bias? No matter how glaring? I have posted on other links the amicus brief that did get filed (search this ezine, e.g., Kansas attorney), read the Thomas More Society brief to note what the ACLU ran from like vampires from garlic. An Examiner pledged to advance diversity and inclusion came right out on the record and demanded that I choose Man's law or God's law. I wonder, had I been asked to swear off Allah ... what result then, ICLU? Had I been found of bad character and fitness for advocating sexual deviance, what result then ICLU? Had I been lifetime banned for posting left of center statements denigrating the US Constitution, what result ICLU? Hey, we all know don't we? Rather Biased.

  2. It was mentioned in the article that there have been numerous CLE events to train attorneys on e-filing. I would like someone to provide a list of those events, because I have not seen any such events in east central Indiana, and since Hamilton County is one of the counties where e-filing is mandatory, one would expect some instruction in this area. Come on, people, give some instruction, not just applause!

  3. This law is troubling in two respects: First, why wasn't the law reviewed "with the intention of getting all the facts surrounding the legislation and its actual impact on the marketplace" BEFORE it was passed and signed? Seems a bit backwards to me (even acknowledging that this is the Indiana state legislature we're talking about. Second, what is it with the laws in this state that seem to create artificial monopolies in various industries? Besides this one, the other law that comes to mind is the legislation that governed the granting of licenses to firms that wanted to set up craft distilleries. The licensing was limited to only those entities that were already in the craft beer brewing business. Republicans in this state talk a big game when it comes to being "business friendly". They're friendly alright . . . to certain businesses.

  4. Gretchen, Asia, Roberto, Tonia, Shannon, Cheri, Nicholas, Sondra, Carey, Laura ... my heart breaks for you, reaching out in a forum in which you are ignored by a professional suffering through both compassion fatigue and the love of filthy lucre. Most if not all of you seek a warm blooded Hoosier attorney unafraid to take on the government and plead that government officials have acted unconstitutionally to try to save a family and/or rescue children in need and/or press individual rights against the Leviathan state. I know an attorney from Kansas who has taken such cases across the country, arguing before half of the federal courts of appeal and presenting cases to the US S.Ct. numerous times seeking cert. Unfortunately, due to his zeal for the constitutional rights of peasants and willingness to confront powerful government bureaucrats seemingly violating the same ... he was denied character and fitness certification to join the Indiana bar, even after he was cleared to sit for, and passed, both the bar exam and ethics exam. And was even admitted to the Indiana federal bar! NOW KNOW THIS .... you will face headwinds and difficulties in locating a zealously motivated Hoosier attorney to face off against powerful government agents who violate the constitution, for those who do so tend to end up as marginalized as Paul Odgen, who was driven from the profession. So beware, many are mere expensive lapdogs, the kind of breed who will gladly take a large retainer, but then fail to press against the status quo and powers that be when told to heel to. It is a common belief among some in Indiana that those attorneys who truly fight the power and rigorously confront corruption often end up, actually or metaphorically, in real life or at least as to their careers, as dead as the late, great Gary Welch. All of that said, I wish you the very best in finding a Hoosier attorney with a fighting spirit to press your rights as far as you can, for you do have rights against government actors, no matter what said actors may tell you otherwise. Attorneys outside the elitist camp are often better fighters that those owing the powers that be for their salaries, corner offices and end of year bonuses. So do not be afraid to retain a green horn or unconnected lawyer, many of them are fine men and woman who are yet untainted by the "unique" Hoosier system.

  5. I am not the John below. He is a journalist and talk show host who knows me through my years working in Kansas government. I did no ask John to post the note below ...

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