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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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  2. 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.

  3. 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.

  4. 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.

  5. 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!

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