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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. I expressed my thought in the title, long as it was. I am shocked that there is ever immunity from accountability for ANY Government agency. That appears to violate every principle in the US Constitution, which exists to limit Government power and to ensure Government accountability. I don't know how many cases of legitimate child abuse exist, but in the few cases in which I knew the people involved, in every example an anonymous caller used DCS as their personal weapon to strike at innocent people over trivial disagreements that had no connection with any facts. Given that the system is vulnerable to abuse, and given the extreme harm any action by DCS causes to families, I would assume any degree of failure to comply with the smallest infraction of personal rights would result in mandatory review. Even one day of parent-child separation in the absence of reasonable cause for a felony arrest should result in severe penalties to those involved in the action. It appears to me, that like all bureaucracies, DCS is prone to interpret every case as legitimate. This is not an accusation against DCS. It is a statement about the nature of bureaucracies, and the need for ADDED scrutiny of all bureaucratic actions. Frankly, I question the constitutionality of bureaucracies in general, because their power is delegated, and therefore unaccountable. No Government action can be unaccountable if we want to avoid its eventual degeneration into irrelevance and lawlessness, and the law of the jungle. Our Constitution is the source of all Government power, and it is the contract that legitimizes all Government power. To the extent that its various protections against intrusion are set aside, so is the power afforded by that contract. Eventually overstepping the limits of power eliminates that power, as a law of nature. Even total tyranny eventually crumbles to nothing.

  2. Being dedicated to a genre keeps it alive until the masses catch up to the "trend." Kent and Bill are keepin' it LIVE!! Thank you gentlemen..you know your JAZZ.

  3. Hemp has very little THC which is needed to kill cancer cells! Growing cannabis plants for THC inside a hemp field will not work...where is the fear? From not really knowing about Cannabis and Hemp or just not listening to the people teaching you through testimonies and packets of info over the last few years! Wake up Hoosier law makers!

  4. If our State Government would sue for their rights to grow HEMP like Kentucky did we would not have these issues. AND for your INFORMATION many medical items are also made from HEMP. FOOD, FUEL,FIBER,TEXTILES and MEDICINE are all uses for this plant. South Bend was built on Hemp. Our states antiquated fear of cannabis is embarrassing on the world stage. We really need to lead the way rather than follow. Some day.. we will have freedom in Indiana. And I for one will continue to educate the good folks of this state to the beauty and wonder of this magnificent plant.

  5. Put aside all the marijuana concerns, we are talking about food and fiber uses here. The federal impediments to hemp cultivation are totally ridiculous. Preposterous. Biggest hemp cultivators are China and Europe. We get most of ours from Canada. Hemp is as versatile as any crop ever including corn and soy. It's good the governor laid the way for this, regrettable the buffoons in DC stand in the way. A statutory relic of the failed "war on drugs"

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