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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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