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Disciplinary Actions - 6/5/13

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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
Arthur J. Usher IV, of Marion County, has been suspended for three years, per a May 17 order. Rejected romantic advances toward a summer intern led him to have his paralegal email more than 50 attorneys a video clip purporting to depict the former intern nude in a film. Read more on page 20.

Octavia F. Snulligan, of Marion County, has been suspended for at least 30 days without automatic reinstatement, per a May 13 order. She was suspended at the time of this order for noncooperation with the Indiana Supreme Court Disciplinary Commission in a separate action. That suspension has since been terminated due to her cooperation with the commission in that action.

The justices found she violated Indiana Professional Conduct Rules 1.5(a) by collecting an unreasonable fee; and 1.16(d) for failure to refund an unearned fee upon termination of representation. Snulligan did not keep any contemporaneous records of the work she did on a criminal case in which her client later terminated her services and sought an itemization of services performed and a refund. The hearing officer found Snulligan did little work to benefit the client and should refund the family at least $5,000.

She may petition for reinstatement upon filing proof that she refunded the client the unearned fees. The costs of the proceeding are assessed against her.

Jeremy S. Brenman, of Monroe County, has been suspended in three separate causes, per May 16 orders. His suspensions are for noncooperation with the Indiana Supreme Court Disciplinary Commission. The suspensions take effect immediately, and he is ordered to reimburse the Disciplinary Commission $511.50 for each cause.

Shante P. Henry, of Lake County, has been suspended for noncooperation with the Indiana Supreme Court Disciplinary Commission, per a May 16 order. The suspension is effective immediately, and Henry is ordered to reimburse the Disciplinary Commission $511.50 for the costs of the proceeding.

Lisa M. Crawford, of St. Joseph County, has been suspended in Indiana due to her suspension in Illinois, per a May 16 order. Crawford has not responded to a March 5, 2013, order to show cause. The suspension is effectively immediately and the costs of the proceeding are assessed against her.

Public reprimand
Randy A. Godshalk, of Lake County, has received a public reprimand from the Indiana Supreme Court in a May 23 order. The justices found he violated Indiana Professional Conduct Rules 1.1, 1.7(a), 5.3(b) and 5.5(a). J.B., who was facing criminal charges, went to Godshalk’s office to hire him to represent her. A nonlawyer assistant agreed to the representation, used a rubberstamp for Godshalk’s signature, and filed the appearances. J.B. was allegedly battered by R.M., a client of Godshalk. At the time J.B. came to Godshalk’s office, he should have known that she was a victim and witness in R.M.’s criminal case. Godshalk was eventually disqualified from R.M.’s case and withdrew his representation of J.B.

The justices also found Godshalk’s actions did not conform to Indiana Professional Conduct Guidelines 9.3(a) and 9.3(b) regarding the use of nonlawyer assistants. The costs of the proceeding are assessed against him.

Termination of Suspension
Octavia F. Snulligan, of Marion County, had her suspension in the matter of 49S00-1301-DI-55 terminated as of May 17, according to a May 21 order from the Indiana Supreme Court. The Indiana Supreme Court Disciplinary Commission filed a certification of compliance responding Snulligan had cooperated with the investigation in this case. Her suspension ordered in one or more other cases remains in effect, and she can’t be reinstated until all causes for suspension are cured. Her failure to pay any outstanding costs in the case due Oct. 1 will result in suspension.•

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  1. You can put your photos anywhere you like... When someone steals it they know it doesn't belong to them. And, a man getting a divorce is automatically not a nice guy...? That's ridiculous. Since when is need of money a conflict of interest? That would mean that no one should have a job unless they are already financially solvent without a job... A photographer is also under no obligation to use a watermark (again, people know when a photo doesn't belong to them) or provide contact information. Hey, he didn't make it easy for me to pay him so I'll just take it! Well heck, might as well walk out of the grocery store with a cart full of food because the lines are too long and you don't find that convenient. "Only in Indiana." Oh, now you're passing judgement on an entire state... What state do you live in? I need to characterize everyone in your state as ignorant and opinionated. And the final bit of ignorance; assuming a photo anyone would want is lucky and then how much does your camera have to cost to make it a good photo, in your obviously relevant opinion?

  2. Seventh Circuit Court Judge Diane Wood has stated in “The Rule of Law in Times of Stress” (2003), “that neither laws nor the procedures used to create or implement them should be secret; and . . . the laws must not be arbitrary.” According to the American Bar Association, Wood’s quote drives home this point: The rule of law also requires that people can expect predictable results from the legal system; this is what Judge Wood implies when she says that “the laws must not be arbitrary.” Predictable results mean that people who act in the same way can expect the law to treat them in the same way. If similar actions do not produce similar legal outcomes, people cannot use the law to guide their actions, and a “rule of law” does not exist.

  3. Linda, I sure hope you are not seeking a law license, for such eighteenth century sentiments could result in your denial in some jurisdictions minting attorneys for our tolerant and inclusive profession.

  4. Mazel Tov to the newlyweds. And to those bakers, photographers, printers, clerks, judges and others who will lose careers and social standing for not saluting the New World (Dis)Order, we can all direct our Two Minutes of Hate as Big Brother asks of us. Progress! Onward!

  5. My daughter was taken from my home at the end of June/2014. I said I would sign the safety plan but my husband would not. My husband said he would leave the house so my daughter could stay with me but the case worker said no her mind is made up she is taking my daughter. My daughter went to a friends and then the friend filed a restraining order which she was told by dcs if she did not then they would take my daughter away from her. The restraining order was not in effect until we were to go to court. Eventually it was dropped but for 2 months DCS refused to allow me to have any contact and was using the restraining order as the reason but it was not in effect. This was Dcs violating my rights. Please help me I don't have the money for an attorney. Can anyone take this case Pro Bono?

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