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Disciplinary Actions - 6/19/13

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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
The Indiana Supreme Court issued a May 30 order suspending more than 300 attorneys for either not paying the annual registration fee required to practice in Indiana, not making the IOLTA certification required and/or failing to comply with certain continuing legal education requirements. Since the order was released, the court has vacated attorneys Hamilton L. Carmouche, Joy McCray Pearson and Douglas Peters from the original listing. Those who do not remedy the reason for their suspension will have their suspensions take effect June 27. The original list may be viewed in the May 30 order at http://www.in.gov/judiciary/2768.htm.

Thomas R. Philpot, of Lake County, has been suspended pendente lite, effective 15 days from the May 30 Supreme Court order. Philpot was found guilty of two counts of mail fraud and one count of theft from a federally funded program. All are felonies.

He was convicted in September 2012 of taking more than $24,000 from federal funds for child support that he oversaw as clerk from December 2004 to November 2009. He was ordered to begin his sentence in February.

Mary K. Kleiss, of Marion County, has been suspended from the practice of law due to disability, per a May 30 order. Kleiss submitted an affidavit of consent to disability suspension. Her suspension took effect immediately, and she may petition for reinstatement upon termination of the disability.

Randy C. Eyster, of Marion County, has been suspended for 90 days, with it all stayed subject to completion of at least two years of probation, per a May 30 order. Eyster pleaded guilty in August 2011 to operating while intoxicated with at least 0.08 grams of alcohol per 210 liter of breath, a Class C misdemeanor. Nearly two years later, he pleaded guilty to OWI endangering a person as a Class C misdemeanor and Class D felony OWI with a previous OWI conviction within five years. He was found to have violated Indiana Professional Conduct Rule 8.4(b).

As part of his probation, he must refrain from using alcohol or mind-altering substances except as prescribed and comply with all Judges and Lawyers Assistance Program requirements. The costs of the proceedings are assessed against Eyster. Justice Loretta Rush and Chief Justice Brent Dickson dissent, with Dickson believing that the proposed discipline is significantly inadequate in light of his felony conviction.

Julia N. Compton, of Johnson County, has been suspended for 180 days, with it all stayed subject to the completion of at least two years of probation, per a May 30 order. Compton pleaded guilty in April 2012 in Marion County to misdemeanor public intoxication; in May 2012, she pleaded guilty in Hancock County to misdemeanor resisting law enforcement and public intoxication. She pleaded guilty in October 2012 to Class D felony operating a vehicle while intoxicated and was granted alternative misdemeanor sentencing. She was incarcerated for four months, according to the order.

Compton violated Indiana Professional Conduct Rule 8.4(b). She must refrain from use of alcohol and mind-altering substances while on probation, follow all Judges and Lawyers Assistance Program requirements, and not violate criminal law or the rules of professional conduct. The costs of the proceeding are assessed against her. Justice Loretta Rush and Chief Justice Brent Dickson dissent, with Dickson believing that the proposed discipline is significantly inadequate in light of Compton’s felony conviction.

Alex R. Voils, of Boone County, has been suspended for 30 days for his handling of a claim for accidental death benefits under a life insurance policy, per a May 30 order. The insurance company denied the claim and Voils did little to press the claim against the insurance company. He was fired, and later failed to timely respond to the Disciplinary Commission’s demand for a response to the grievance filed by the former client.

The order notes that Voils had physical and mental health problems at the time of the misconduct. He was found to have violated Indiana Professional Conduct Rules 1.3, 1.16(d) and 8.1(b). The justices also noted that his punishment may have been more severe if not for the commission’s agreement to the proposed discipline.

Voils’ suspension takes effect July 12, and he will be automatically reinstated provided there are no other suspensions in effect. Justice Steven David did not participate.

Shane E. Beal, of Grant County, has been indefinitely suspended in seven separate causes for noncooperation, per a May 30 order. In each of the cases, Beal was ordered to show cause within 10 days, but has still not cooperated in three of the causes. He has responded adequately to the Disciplinary Commission regarding three other causes and responded falsely to the show cause order in the remaining case.

The court also granted the commission’s request that he reimburse the costs in six of the cases in the amount of $512.22 per case.•

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  1. I gave tempparry guardship to a friend of my granddaughter in 2012. I went to prison. I had custody. My daughter went to prison to. We are out. My daughter gave me custody but can get her back. She was not order to give me custody . but now we want granddaughter back from friend. She's 14 now. What rights do we have

  2. This sure is not what most who value good governance consider the Rule of Law to entail: "In a letter dated March 2, which Brizzi forwarded to IBJ, the commission dismissed the grievance “on grounds that there is not reasonable cause to believe that you are guilty of misconduct.”" Yet two month later reasonable cause does exist? (Or is the commission forging ahead, the need for reasonable belief be damned? -- A seeming violation of the Rules of Profession Ethics on the part of the commission) Could the rule of law theory cause one to believe that an explanation is in order? Could it be that Hoosier attorneys live under Imperial Law (which is also a t-word that rhymes with infamy) in which the Platonic guardians can do no wrong and never owe the plebeian class any explanation for their powerful actions. (Might makes it right?) Could this be a case of politics directing the commission, as celebrated IU Mauer Professor (the late) Patrick Baude warned was happening 20 years ago in his controversial (whisteblowing) ethics lecture on a quite similar topic: http://www.repository.law.indiana.edu/cgi/viewcontent.cgi?article=1498&context=ilj

  3. I have a case presently pending cert review before the SCOTUS that reveals just how Indiana regulates the bar. I have been denied licensure for life for holding the wrong views and questioning the grand inquisitors as to their duties as to state and federal constitutional due process. True story: https://www.scribd.com/doc/299040839/2016Petitionforcert-to-SCOTUS Shorter, Amici brief serving to frame issue as misuse of govt licensure: https://www.scribd.com/doc/312841269/Thomas-More-Society-Amicus-Brown-v-Ind-Bd-of-Law-Examiners

  4. Here's an idea...how about we MORE heavily regulate the law schools to reduce the surplus of graduates, driving starting salaries up for those new grads, so that we can all pay our insane amount of student loans off in a reasonable amount of time and then be able to afford to do pro bono & low-fee work? I've got friends in other industries, radiology for example, and their schools accept a very limited number of students so there will never be a glut of new grads and everyone's pay stays high. For example, my radiologist friend's school accepted just six new students per year.

  5. I totally agree with John Smith.

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