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Disciplinary Actions - 5/21/14

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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.

Disbarment
Christopher E. Haigh has been disbarred immediately by the Indiana Supreme Court for continuing to practice during a suspension, per a May 7 disciplinary opinion. Haigh must also pay a $1,000 fine. See page 25 for more.

Resignation
Todd A. Woodmansee, of Marion County, has resigned from the bar, effective immediately, per an order released May 8. He must wait five years before petitioning for reinstatement, and the costs of the proceeding are assessed against him.

Suspension
Peter Raventos, of Owen County, has been suspended for noncooperation with the Disciplinary Commission, per an April 29 order. Raventos was already suspended for continuing legal education noncompliance and dues nonpayment. He pleaded guilty in 2013 to a misdemeanor charge of false reporting stemming from an incident in a state park in which he rigged a shotgun to shoot himself. He called 911 to report the shooting, and officers concluded he set up the shotgun to shoot himself. Raventos must pay $524.44 for the costs of this proceeding.

The Indiana Supreme Court issued an amended interim suspension order May 1 in the case of Robert B. Bush of Johnson County. Bush was suspended from practice Feb. 13, 2014, after being found guilty of felony stalking. The interim suspension will continue until further order of the court. The order issued in February erroneously said Bush was convicted of two felonies.

Brad J. Weber, of Adams County, has been suspended from practice effective May 2 for noncooperation with the Disciplinary Commission, per a May 2 order. He must pay $524.44 for the costs of this proceeding.

Lindsay C. Potthast, of Marion County, has been suspended for 30 days, which is stayed subject to completion of at least 12 months of probation, per a May 7 order. Potthast, a deputy prosecutor, pleaded guilty to Class C misdemeanor operating a vehicle while intoxicated related to a June 2011 traffic stop. Potthast violated Rules of Professional Conduct 8.4(b) and 8.4(d). Her suspension began May 7. As part of her probation, she must enter into a monitoring agreement if recommended by the Judges and Lawyers Assistance Program. The costs of the proceeding are assessed against her.

Paul J. Page, of Marion County, has been suspended for at least two years by the Indiana Supreme Court. The suspension, beginning May 12, is without automatic reinstatement. Page pleaded guilty to aiding and abetting fraud by wire, radio or television, which led to an interim suspension Jan. 27. The justices found he violated Indiana Professional Conduct Rules 8.4(b) and 8.4(c). If Page’s two-year probation in the criminal case is reduced by an order of the trial court, he may petition for modification of his suspension from practice. The costs of the proceeding are assessed against him. Chief Justice Brent Dickson believes Page should be disbarred; Justice Mark Massa did not participate.•

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  5. Additional Points: -Civility in the profession: Treating others with respect will not only move others to respect you, it will show a shared respect for the legal system we are all sworn to protect. When attorneys engage in unnecessary personal attacks, they lose the respect and favor of judges, jurors, the person being attacked, and others witnessing or reading the communication. It's not always easy to put anger aside, but if you don't, you will lose respect, credibility, cases, clients & jobs or job opportunities. -Read Rule 22 of the Admission & Discipline Rules. Capture that spirit and apply those principles in your daily work. -Strive to represent clients in a manner that communicates the importance you place on the legal matter you're privileged to handle for them. -There are good lawyers of all ages, but no one is perfect. Older lawyers can learn valuable skills from younger lawyers who tend to be more adept with new technologies that can improve work quality and speed. Older lawyers have already tackled more legal issues and worked through more of the problems encountered when representing clients on various types of legal matters. If there's mutual respect and a willingness to learn from each other, it will help make both attorneys better lawyers. -Erosion of the public trust in lawyers wears down public confidence in the rule of law. Always keep your duty to the profession in mind. -You can learn so much by asking questions & actively listening to instructions and advice from more experienced attorneys, regardless of how many years or decades you've each practiced law. Don't miss out on that chance.

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