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Disciplinary Actions - 2/26/14

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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.

Reciprocal Discipline
Kent D. Mitchner, has been suspended for 30 days, all stayed subject to probation as imposed by the Supreme Court of Kentucky, per a Feb. 3 Indiana Supreme Court order. Mitchner was suspended in Kentucky effective Aug. 29 for 30 days, probated for one year with conditions. The costs of the proceeding are assessed against him.

Public reprimand
Scott Storms, of Marion County, has received a public reprimand for violating Indiana Professional Conduct Rule 1.11(d). Storms was general counsel and chief administrative law judge at the Indiana Utility Regulatory Commission, where he heard matters involving Duke Energy Indiana Inc. He resigned from the IURC when formally offered a job at Duke. A state ethics investigation led to a $12,120 fine for violating I.C. 4-2-6-9 and a ban from future employment with the state.

The justices found several mitigating factors, including the fine and employment ban. The order notes that the discipline imposed may have been more severe had this matter been submitted without the commission’s agreement to a public reprimand.

Suspension
Randall B. Stiles, of Allen County, has been suspended for noncooperation effective immediately, per two Feb. 3 orders. Stiles filed objections to the Disciplinary Commission’s requests for ruling and to tax costs, in which the court found no merit. The suspension will remain in effect until Stiles cooperates with the commission, the disciplinary proceedings arising from the investigation are disposed of, or until further order of the court. He is ordered to reimburse the Disciplinary Commission $1,048.88 in costs.

Amanda A. Johnson, of Madison County, has been suspended for noncooperation, effectively immediately, per a Feb. 4 order. The suspension shall continue until she fully cooperates with the Disciplinary Commission, the investigation or any disciplinary proceedings arising from the investigation are disposed of, or until further order of the court. She is ordered to reimburse the Disciplinary Commission $524.44 in costs.

Thomas L. Montgomery, of Vanderburgh County, has been suspended for at least one year, without automatic reinstatement, per a Feb. 3 order. The order lists five counts, including becoming involved in a personal relationship with a former client and purchasing a gun for her, knowing she was a convicted felon. The order also says that Montgomery falsely told colleagues that he had a life-threatening brain tumor.

He has been diagnosed with bipolar disorder and has been working with the Judges and Lawyers Monitoring Program. There is a cyst on his brain, but it is not a brain tumor.

The justices found Montgomery has violated Indiana Professional Conduct Rules 1.3; 1.4(a)(3); 5.3(b); 8.4(b); 8.4(c); and 8.4(d).

Montgomery has been suspended since 2008 for CLE noncompliance and dues nonpayment. The costs of the proceeding are assessed against him.

Gary L. Dilk, of Marion County, has been suspended for at least six months, without automatic reinstatement, per a Feb. 10 order. The suspension takes effect March 24. The justices found he violated Indiana Professional Conduct Rules 1.4(a); 1.4(b); 1.8(f); 3.2; 5.4(a); 5.4(c); 5.5(a); 7.3(e); and 8.4(d). The nine counts of misconduct concern Dilk’s representation of clients referred to him by Ohio-based for-profit Foreclosure Solutions LLC and by other organizations and his serving as “of counsel” in Indiana foreclosure actions for an Ohio law firm.

He received approximately 2,675 referrals from Foreclosures Solutions. His typical practice was to allow judgment to be entered without opposition or hearing, and he had no direct contact with many of his clients. He asserted to the Disciplinary Commission that the homeowners were not his clients, to which the order says “shows a lack of insight into his professional responsibilities to the homeowners for whom he appeared as counsel, asserting that his professional duties were owed to the companies who hired him, not to homeowners.”

Terrance L. Kinnard, of Marion County, has been suspended for at least six months, without automatic reinstatement, per a Feb. 10 order. The charges stem in part from false statements he made in April 2008 on a petition to modify custody and to find a mother in contempt. Kinnard also filed a defamation suit against the mother, who filed a grievance against him, seeking more than $100,000 and attorney fees. The mother and respondent filed a joint motion to dismiss in August 2008.

The justices found he violated Indiana Rules of Professional Conduct 3.5(b), 3.1, 4.4(a) and 8.4(d). The suspension begins March 24, and the costs of the proceeding are assessed against Kinnard.

Robert B. Bush, of Johnson County, has been suspended effective immediately, per a Feb. 13 order. Bush has been found guilty of felony stalking and invasion of privacy. The interim suspension shall continue until further order of the court or final resolution of any resulting disciplinary action, provided no other suspension is in effect.

Jennifer L. Graham, of Marion County, has been suspended for 60 days, beginning Feb. 14, per an order from the Supreme Court. The suspension is stayed subject to completion of at least two years of probation, including monitoring with the Judges and Lawyers Assistance Program. The justices found she violated Indiana Professional Conduct Rules 8.4(b) and 8.4(c) when she wrote two checks from her client trust account payable to herself and deposited into her operating account to cover losses she incurred from gambling. She has since repaid the $1,100 she converted from her client trust account.

Graham admits she is a compulsive gambler and has taken steps to address her addiction. The costs of the proceeding are assessed against her.•

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  1. Indianapolis employers harassment among minorities AFRICAN Americans needs to be discussed the metro Indianapolis area is horrible when it comes to harassing African American employees especially in the local healthcare facilities. Racially profiling in the workplace is an major issue. Please make it better because I'm many civil rights leaders would come here and justify that Indiana is a state the WORKS only applies to Caucasian Americans especially in Hamilton county. Indiana targets African Americans in the workplace so when governor pence is trying to convince people to vote for him this would be awesome publicity for the Presidency Elections.

  2. Wishing Mary Willis only God's best, and superhuman strength, as she attempts to right a ship that too often strays far off course. May she never suffer this personal affect, as some do who attempt to change a broken system: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QojajMsd2nE

  3. Indiana's seatbelt law is not punishable as a crime. It is an infraction. Apparently some of our Circuit judges have deemed settled law inapplicable if it fails to fit their litmus test of political correctness. Extrapolating to redefine terms of behavior in a violation of immigration law to the entire body of criminal law leaves a smorgasbord of opportunity for judicial mischief.

  4. I wonder if $10 diversions for failure to wear seat belts are considered moral turpitude in federal immigration law like they are under Indiana law? Anyone know?

  5. What a fine article, thank you! I can testify firsthand and by detailed legal reports (at end of this note) as to the dire consequences of rejecting this truth from the fine article above: "The inclusion and expansion of this right [to jury] in Indiana’s Constitution is a clear reflection of our state’s intention to emphasize the importance of every Hoosier’s right to make their case in front of a jury of their peers." Over $20? Every Hoosier? Well then how about when your very vocation is on the line? How about instead of a jury of peers, one faces a bevy of political appointees, mini-czars, who care less about due process of the law than the real czars did? Instead of trial by jury, trial by ideological ordeal run by Orwellian agents? Well that is built into more than a few administrative law committees of the Ind S.Ct., and it is now being weaponized, as is revealed in articles posted at this ezine, to root out post moderns heresies like refusal to stand and pledge allegiance to all things politically correct. My career was burned at the stake for not so saluting, but I think I was just one of the early logs. Due, at least in part, to the removal of the jury from bar admission and bar discipline cases, many more fires will soon be lit. Perhaps one awaits you, dear heretic? Oh, at that Ind. article 12 plank about a remedy at law for every damage done ... ah, well, the founders evidently meant only for those damages done not by the government itself, rabid statists that they were. (Yes, that was sarcasm.) My written reports available here: Denied petition for cert (this time around): http://tinyurl.com/zdmawmw Denied petition for cert (from the 2009 denial and five year banishment): http://tinyurl.com/zcypybh Related, not written by me: Amicus brief: http://tinyurl.com/hvh7qgp

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