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Disciplinary Actions - 10/23/13

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Indiana Lawyer Disciplinary Actions

The Indiana Supreme Court Disciplinary Commission brings charges against attorneys who have violated the state’s rules for admission to the bar and Rules of Professional Conduct. The Indiana Commission on Judicial Qualifications brings charges against judges, judicial officers, or judicial candidates for misconduct. Details of attorneys’ and judges’ actions for which they are being disciplined by the Supreme Court will be included unless they are not a matter of public record under the court’s rules.

Suspension
F. Scott Stuard, of Clinton County, has been suspended for noncooperation with the Disciplinary Commission, per an Oct. 3 order. The suspension was effective immediately. Stuard was ordered July 23 to show cause why he shouldn’t be immediately suspended for failure to cooperate with the commission; he never submitted a response. He is also ordered to reimburse the Disciplinary Commission $524.44 for costs of the proceeding.

Public reprimand
Ellen M. Corcella, of Marion County, received a public reprimand from the Indiana Supreme Court, per an Oct. 3 order. The reprimand stems from fee agreements with clients. In one case, Corcella billed a client at a higher rate than what the agreement called for. In the other case, a fee agreement was changed from a contingent fee to a blended hourly and contingent fee agreement which favored Corcella.

The justices found Corcella violated Indiana Professional Conduct Rules 1.5(a), charging an unreasonable fee; and 1.8(a), entering into a business transaction with a client (modification of fee agreement) unless the client is given written advice of the desirability of seeking the advice of independent counsel.

Corcella has no disciplinary history and was remorseful. The costs of the proceedings are assessed against Corcella.

Discipline Declined
Thomas M. Dixon, of St. Joseph County, was found not to have committed attorney misconduct by the Indiana Supreme Court in an Oct. 8 opinion. The hearing officer believed statements Dixon made about a St. Joseph Superior judge who refused to recuse herself from a case involving pro-life demonstrators at the University of Notre Dame warranted discipline. Justice Rucker dissented, believing Dixon violated Indiana Professional Conduct Rule 8.2(a) and should be sanctioned accordingly.•

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  1. 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.

  2. 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.

  3. 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.

  4. I am the mother of the child in this case. My silence on the matter was due to the fact that I filed, both in Illinois and Indiana, child support cases. I even filed supporting documentation with the Indiana family law court. Not sure whether this information was provided to the court of appeals or not. Wish the case was done before moving to Indiana, because no matter what, there is NO WAY the state of Illinois would have allowed an appeal on a child support case!

  5. "No one is safe when the Legislature is in session."

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