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Disciplinary actions - 5/8/13

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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
David E. Schalk, of Monroe County, has been suspended for at least nine months by the Indiana Supreme Court, per an April 15 order. The justices found Schalk violated Indiana Professional Conduct Rules 8.4(b) by committing a criminal act that reflects adversely on the lawyer’s honesty, trustworthiness or fitness as a lawyer; and 8.4(d) by engaging in conduct prejudicial to the administration of justice.

Schalk illegally attempted a drug sting without the assistance of law enforcement in order to impeach a witness’s credibility at his client’s trial. Schalk was found guilty of Class A misdemeanor attempt to possess marijuana, which was upheld by the Indiana Court of Appeals in 2011.

His suspension begins May 24 and he must petition for reinstatement. The costs of the proceeding are assessed against Schalk.

Bruce A. Carr, of Porter County, has been suspended indefinitely by the Indiana Supreme Court, per an April 19 order. Carr is admitted to practice in Indiana and Illinois and was suspended from practice in Illinois for nine months beginning Dec. 10, 2012. The reciprocal discipline took effect April 19 and the costs of the proceeding are assessed against Carr. If he is reinstated in Illinois, he may file a motion to be reinstated in Indiana.

Mark E. Watson, of Vigo County, has been suspended for at least 18 months by the Indiana Supreme Court, per an April 19 order. Watson admitted to five counts of misconduct occurring from 2009 to 2011, including making unauthorized charges for personal use of the law firm’s credit card and converting client funds. Watson has violated Indiana Professional Conduct Rules 8.4(b) by committing criminal conversion, and by committing a criminal act that reflects adversely on the lawyer’s honesty, trustworthiness, or fitness as a lawyer; and 8.4(c) by engaging in conduct involving dishonesty, fraud, deceit or misrepresentation.

His suspension begins May 31 and he must petition for reinstatement. The costs of the proceeding are assessed against Watson. Chief Justice Brent Dickson dissented, believing the agreed punishment is insufficient in light of the admitted misconduct.

Dismissal
The Indiana Supreme Court entered judgment for Robert L. Canada, of Vanderburgh County, in a disciplinary case pending against the attorney in an April 26 order. The Disciplinary Commission alleged that Canada violated Indiana Professional Conduct Rules 1.5(a): making an agreement for, charging, or collecting an unreasonable fee; and 1.16(d): failure to refund fees that have not been earned.

A client hired Canada to represent him on a charge of Class A felony conspiracy to commit dealing in methamphetamine. They agreed to a flat fee of $10,000 to be paid from a cash bond. After being offered a plea agreement to a Class B felony, the client hired a different attorney to try to get a better plea. Canada withdrew as attorney, and the trial court later released $10,000 of the cash bond for his fee.

The hearing officer concluded that the fee agreement was reasonable. The justices concluded that the Disciplinary Commission didn’t prove by clear and convincing evidence that Canada did not fully earn his flat fee.
 

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  1. I'm not sure what's more depressing: the fact that people would pay $35,000 per year to attend an unaccredited law school, or the fact that the same people "are hanging in there and willing to follow the dean’s lead in going forward" after the same school fails to gain accreditation, rendering their $70,000 and counting education worthless. Maybe it's a good thing these people can't sit for the bar.

  2. Such is not uncommon on law school startups. Students and faculty should tap Bruce Green, city attorney of Lufkin, Texas. He led a group of studnets and faculty and sued the ABA as a law student. He knows the ropes, has advised other law school startups. Very astute and principled attorney of unpopular clients, at least in his past, before Lufkin tapped him to run their show.

  3. Not that having the appellate records on Odyssey won't be welcome or useful, but I would rather they first bring in the stray counties that aren't yet connected on the trial court level.

  4. Aristotle said 350 bc: "The most hated sort, and with the greatest reason, is usury, which makes a gain out of money itself, and not from the natural object of it. For money was intended to be used in exchange, but not to increase at interest. And this term interest, which means the birth of money from money, is applied to the breeding of money because the offspring resembles the parent. Wherefore of an modes of getting wealth this is the most unnatural.

  5. Oh yes, lifetime tenure. The Founders gave that to the federal judges .... at that time no federal district courts existed .... so we are talking the Supreme Court justices only in context ....so that they could rule against traditional marriage and for the other pet projects of the sixties generation. Right. Hmmmm, but I must admit, there is something from that time frame that seems to recommend itself in this context ..... on yes, from a document the Founders penned in 1776: " He has refused his Assent to Laws, the most wholesome and necessary for the public good."

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