ILNews

Disciplinary Actions - 11/23/12

IL Staff
November 21, 2012
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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
Kjell P. Engebretsen, of Boone County, has been suspended for at least three years because his repeated misconduct has “injured his clients” and “tarnished the reputation of the legal profession.” Engebretsen had two suspensions still in effect when the Indiana Supreme Court issued this latest suspension Oct. 29. The Indiana Supreme Court Disciplinary Commission filed a complaint against Engebretsen in November 2011, which alleged misconduct that occurred from 2006 through 2011. He’s accused of neglecting clients’ cases, failing to inform clients that his medical problems would severely limit his ability to represent them, failing to refund unearned fees, and other charges.

Engebretsen did not respond to the complaint. Judge Thomas G. Fisher, who was appointed to hear the case, found five facts in aggravation, including that the attorney’s misconduct severely damaged the public’s perception of attorneys and caused great harm to his clients, and that he has shown no remorse and displayed indifference to paying restitution.

Three justices found Engebretsen violated nine rules of professional conduct, including engaging in conduct involving dishonesty, fraud, deceit or misrepresentation, and failure to keep a client reasonably informed about the status of a matter. His suspension is effective immediately and is without automatic reinstatement. The costs of the proceeding are assessed against him.

Justice Steven David dissented, believing Engebretsen should be disbarred.

Proceeding stayed
Charlie P. White, of Marion County, has had his disciplinary proceedings stayed by the Indiana Supreme Court per a Nov. 1 order. The former secretary of state sought the stay pending resolution of the appeal of his criminal charges. His law license, which was suspended in May, remains suspended.

The justices entered the interim suspension earlier this year after White was convicted of several felonies following a trial in Hamilton County on voter fraud charges. The Indiana Supreme Court Disciplinary Commission didn’t object to the requested stay “in the interests of judicial economy,” according to the order.

Justice Mark Massa did not participate in the decision.•

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  1. 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.

  2. 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.

  3. 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 ...

  4. "...not those committed in the heat of an argument." If I ever see a man physically abusing a woman or a child and I'm close enough to intercede I will not ask him why he is abusing her/him. I will give him a split second to cease his attack and put his hands in the air while I call the police. If he continues, I will still call the police but to report, "Man down with a gunshot wound,"instead.

  5. And so the therapeutic state is weaonized. How soon until those with ideologies opposing the elite are disarmed in the name of mental health? If it can start anywhere it can start in the hoosiers' slavishly politically correct capital city.

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