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Disciplinary Actions - 3/30/12-4/12/12

March 28, 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.

Public reprimand
Carl Brizzi
, of Marion County, received a public reprimand from the Indiana Supreme Court March 12, 2012. The justices found that he engaged in attorney misconduct by making public statements as a prosecutor that had a substantial likelihood of materially prejudicing adjudicative proceedings and a substantial likelihood of heightening public condemnation of the criminal defendants. Read more on page 10.

Ayeshah F. Johnson, of Hamilton County, received a public reprimand from the Indiana Supreme Court March 13, 2012. Johnson, a solo practitioner, failed to maintain complete trust account records for a five-year period. The justices found Johnson violated Indiana Professional Conduct Rules 1.15(a), failure to safeguard property of a client and failure to maintain and preserve complete records of client trust account funds; and 1.15(c) failing to deposit unearned legal fees into client trust account and withdrawing funds from client trust account without earning fees or incurring expenses. She also violated Indiana Admission and Discipline Rules 23(29)(a)(2), failure to maintain and preserve clear record of date, amount, source, and explanation for funds held in trust; and 23(29)(a)(5), making withdrawals from a trust account without written withdrawal authorization stating the amount and purpose of the withdrawal and the payee, and making withdrawals from a trust account by checks payable to “cash.”

The costs of the proceeding were assessed against Johnson.

Suspension
Beau White
, of Grant County, has been suspended for 60 days by the Indiana Supreme Court in an order dated March 13, 2012. White was hired in a paternity action, but took no action on the case and did not refund the money to the client. The justices found White violated Indiana Professional Conduct Rules 1.2(a), failure to abide by a client’s decisions concerning the objectives of representation; 1.3, failure to act with reasonable diligence and promptness. 1.4(a), failure to keep a client reasonably informed about the status of a matter and respond promptly to reasonable requests for information; and 1.16(d), failure to refund an unearned fee upon termination of representation.

Because of White’s failure to respond in any way to the Disciplinary Commission’s complaint, he is required to demonstrate his fitness before being reinstated. White’s suspension begins April 20.

Thomas N. Nuttle, of Elkhart County, has been suspended, effective immediately, by the Indiana Supreme Court for noncooperation with the Disciplinary Commission, per a March 15, 2012, order. This suspension shall continue until: (1) the executive secretary of the Disciplinary Commission certifies to the court that Nuttle has cooperated fully with the investigation; (2) the investigation or any disciplinary proceedings arising from the investigation are disposed of; or (3) until further order of this court, provided there are no other suspensions in effect. Nuttle is already under a suspension for continuing legal education noncompliance. He has been ordered to reimburse $569.67 in costs.

James D. Nafe Jr., of St. Joseph County, has been suspended, effective immediately, by the Indiana Supreme Court for noncooperation with the Disciplinary Commission, per a March 15, 2012, order. This suspension shall continue until: (1) the executive secretary of the Disciplinary Commission certifies to the court that Nafe has cooperated fully with the investigation; (2) the investigation or any disciplinary proceedings arising from the investigation are disposed of; or (3) until further order of this court, provided there are no other suspensions then in effect. He has been ordered to reimburse $522.16 in costs.

Diamond Z. Hirschauer, of Marion County, has been suspended, effective immediately, by the Indiana Supreme Court for noncooperation with the Disciplinary Commission, per a March 15, 2012 order. This suspension shall continue until: (1) the executive secretary of the Disciplinary Commission certifies to the court that Hirschauer has cooperated fully with the investigation; (2) the investigation or any disciplinary proceedings arising from the investigation are disposed of; or (3) until further order of this court, provided there are no other suspensions in effect. Hirschauer has been ordered to reimburse $543.74 in costs.•

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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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