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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. Just an aside, but regardless of the outcome, I 'm proud of Judge William Hughes. He was the original magistrate on the Home place issue. He ruled for Home Place, and was primaried by Brainard for it. Their tool Poindexter failed to unseat Hughes, who won support for his honesty and courage throughout the county, and he was reelected Judge of Hamilton County's Superior Court. You can still stand for something and survive. Thanks, Judge Hughes!

  2. CCHP's real accomplishment is the 2015 law signed by Gov Pence that basically outlaws any annexation that is forced where a 65% majority of landowners in the affected area disagree. Regardless of whether HP wins or loses, the citizens of Indiana will not have another fiasco like this. The law Gov Pence signed is a direct result of this malgovernance.

  3. 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

  4. 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

  5. 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

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