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Disciplinary Actions - 3/12/14

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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.

Removal from bench
Kimberly Brown, of Marion Superior Court, has been removed from the bench, per a March 4 order. The justices found she “engaged in significant judicial misconduct.” Justice Rucker concurred in part, believing a 60-day suspension without pay followed by a stay of her removal through a period of supervised probation was a better sanction. See story on page 4.

Termination of Suspension
David J. Sokolowski, of Elkhart County, has had his suspension for noncooperation terminated, per a Feb. 13 order. He is to be reinstated as long as no other suspension is in effect.

Suspension
Joseph C. Lehman, of Elkhart County, has been suspended for no less than two years, without automatic reinstatement, per a Feb. 19 order. The suspension begins April 3. Lehman was charged with five counts, which includes throwing client files with confidential information into a trash bin. The files were found by a newspaper reporter. He also failed to appear at numerous hearings in other cases and was sometimes jailed for such failures, as well as incorrectly handling client cases. Lehman also comingled client and attorney funds.

Judges before whom Lehman practices testified that he has consistently practiced far below the average level of performance for Elkhart County attorneys, his deficiencies have created a tremendous amount of trouble for court staff, and his conduct hurts clients and the court system.

The Supreme Court found Lehman violated Indiana Professional Conduct Rules 1.1; 1.2(a); 1.6(a); 1.9(c)(2); 1.15(a); and 8.4(d), as well as Ind. Admission and Discipline Rules 23(29)(a)(2), (3) and (4). The costs of the proceeding are assessed against him.

David Wyser, of Madison County, was suspended Feb. 26 by the Indiana Supreme Court because Wyser has pleaded guilty to a felony. The suspension came three months after the Indiana Disciplinary Commission transmitted orders and requested Wyser’s suspension following his guilty plea in July to accepting a $2,500 bribe in exchange for facilitating the early release of a woman sentenced in the murder-for-hire of her husband. Wyser was sentenced to three years of probation. The interim suspension remains in effect until further order of the court. Justice Massa did not participate.•

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  1. A sad end to a prolific gadfly. Indiana has suffered a great loss in the journalistic realm.

  2. Good riddance to this dangerous activist judge

  3. What is the one thing the Hoosier legal status quo hates more than a whistleblower? A lawyer whistleblower taking on the system man to man. That must never be rewarded, must always, always, always be punished, lest the whole rotten tree be felled.

  4. I want to post this to keep this tread alive and hope more of David's former clients might come forward. In my case, this coward of a man represented me from June 2014 for a couple of months before I fired him. I knew something was wrong when he blatantly lied about what he had advised me in my contentious and unfortunate divorce trial. His impact on the proceedings cast a very long shadow and continues to impact me after a lengthy 19 month divorce. I would join a class action suit.

  5. The dispute in LB Indiana regarding lake front property rights is typical of most beach communities along our Great Lakes. Simply put, communication to non owners when visiting the lakefront would be beneficial. The Great Lakes are designated navigational waters (including shorelines). The high-water mark signifies the area one is able to navigate. This means you can walk, run, skip, etc. along the shores. You can't however loiter, camp, sunbath in front of someones property. Informational signs may be helpful to owners and visitors. Our Great Lakes are a treasure that should be enjoyed by all. PS We should all be concerned that the Long Beach, Indiana community is on septic systems.

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