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Disciplinary Actions - 7/6/12

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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.

Disbarment
Douglas W. Patterson, of Vanderburgh County, has been disbarred following his guilty plea to stealing from clients, per a June 20, 2012, Indiana Supreme Court order. Patterson, who has previous disciplinary actions and was suspended at the time of the disbarment, pleaded guilty in 2011 to three counts of Class D felony theft of client funds. The justices found he engaged in conduct involving dishonesty, fraud, deceit or misrepresentation.

Suspension
Ryan L. Strup, of Marion County, has been suspended by the Indiana Supreme Court for violating conditions of his probation by consuming alcohol, per a June 20, 2012, order. In December 2011, the justices approved a conditional agreement that suspended Strup for 90 days, all stayed subject to the completion of at least two years of probation with monitoring by the Judges and Lawyers Assistance Program.

His suspension, which is without automatic reinstatement, takes effect Aug. 1 and shall be for a period of no less than 90 days. The costs of the proceedings are assessed against Strup.

Robert C. Szilagyi, of LaPorte County, has been suspended by the Indiana Supreme Court for engaging in conduct involving dishonesty, fraud, deceit or misrepresentation and conduct prejudicial to the administration of justice. The June 20, 2012, order says Szilagyi, who is the prosecutor in LaPorte County, violated Indiana Professional Conduct Rules 8.4(c) and (d) when he signed his ex-wife’s name on a quitclaim deed. Szilagyi discovered on the day he was to close refinancing on the formal marital residence he and his ex-wife had shared that his ex-wife had signed her restored name on the deed instead of the married name as reflected on the title. Szilagyi also signed his secretary’s name as notary and used her stamp on the deed without consent of her or his ex-wife. The secretary was investigated by the Indiana secretary of state due to Szilagyi’s actions.

The parties found that Szilagyi forged the signatures because he wanted to avoid an “unpleasant conversation” with his ex-wife and that he should have known how this type of misconduct can impugn the reputation of lawyers and the legal system. Szilagyi has no disciplinary history and accepted responsibility for his actions.

The suspension is for 60 days and begins Aug. 1. If there are no objections, he will be automatically reinstated. The costs of the proceedings are assessed against him.•

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  1. It was mentioned in the article that there have been numerous CLE events to train attorneys on e-filing. I would like someone to provide a list of those events, because I have not seen any such events in east central Indiana, and since Hamilton County is one of the counties where e-filing is mandatory, one would expect some instruction in this area. Come on, people, give some instruction, not just applause!

  2. This law is troubling in two respects: First, why wasn't the law reviewed "with the intention of getting all the facts surrounding the legislation and its actual impact on the marketplace" BEFORE it was passed and signed? Seems a bit backwards to me (even acknowledging that this is the Indiana state legislature we're talking about. Second, what is it with the laws in this state that seem to create artificial monopolies in various industries? Besides this one, the other law that comes to mind is the legislation that governed the granting of licenses to firms that wanted to set up craft distilleries. The licensing was limited to only those entities that were already in the craft beer brewing business. Republicans in this state talk a big game when it comes to being "business friendly". They're friendly alright . . . to certain businesses.

  3. Gretchen, Asia, Roberto, Tonia, Shannon, Cheri, Nicholas, Sondra, Carey, Laura ... my heart breaks for you, reaching out in a forum in which you are ignored by a professional suffering through both compassion fatigue and the love of filthy lucre. Most if not all of you seek a warm blooded Hoosier attorney unafraid to take on the government and plead that government officials have acted unconstitutionally to try to save a family and/or rescue children in need and/or press individual rights against the Leviathan state. I know an attorney from Kansas who has taken such cases across the country, arguing before half of the federal courts of appeal and presenting cases to the US S.Ct. numerous times seeking cert. Unfortunately, due to his zeal for the constitutional rights of peasants and willingness to confront powerful government bureaucrats seemingly violating the same ... he was denied character and fitness certification to join the Indiana bar, even after he was cleared to sit for, and passed, both the bar exam and ethics exam. And was even admitted to the Indiana federal bar! NOW KNOW THIS .... you will face headwinds and difficulties in locating a zealously motivated Hoosier attorney to face off against powerful government agents who violate the constitution, for those who do so tend to end up as marginalized as Paul Odgen, who was driven from the profession. So beware, many are mere expensive lapdogs, the kind of breed who will gladly take a large retainer, but then fail to press against the status quo and powers that be when told to heel to. It is a common belief among some in Indiana that those attorneys who truly fight the power and rigorously confront corruption often end up, actually or metaphorically, in real life or at least as to their careers, as dead as the late, great Gary Welch. All of that said, I wish you the very best in finding a Hoosier attorney with a fighting spirit to press your rights as far as you can, for you do have rights against government actors, no matter what said actors may tell you otherwise. Attorneys outside the elitist camp are often better fighters that those owing the powers that be for their salaries, corner offices and end of year bonuses. So do not be afraid to retain a green horn or unconnected lawyer, many of them are fine men and woman who are yet untainted by the "unique" Hoosier system.

  4. I am not the John below. He is a journalist and talk show host who knows me through my years working in Kansas government. I did no ask John to post the note below ...

  5. "...not those committed in the heat of an argument." If I ever see a man physically abusing a woman or a child and I'm close enough to intercede I will not ask him why he is abusing her/him. I will give him a split second to cease his attack and put his hands in the air while I call the police. If he continues, I will still call the police but to report, "Man down with a gunshot wound,"instead.

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