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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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