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.

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.

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. I think the cops are doing a great job locking up criminals. The Murder rates in the inner cities are skyrocketing and you think that too any people are being incarcerated. Maybe we need to lock up more of them. We have the ACLU, BLM, NAACP, Civil right Division of the DOJ, the innocent Project etc. We have court system with an appeal process that can go on for years, with attorneys supplied by the government. I'm confused as to how that translates into the idea that the defendants are not being represented properly. Maybe the attorneys need to do more Pro-Bono work

  2. We do not have 10% of our population (which would mean about 32 million) incarcerated. It's closer to 2%.

  3. If a class action suit or other manner of retribution is possible, count me in. I have email and voicemail from the man. He colluded with opposing counsel, I am certain. My case was damaged so severely it nearly lost me everything and I am still paying dearly.

  4. There's probably a lot of blame that can be cast around for Indiana Tech's abysmal bar passage rate this last February. The folks who decided that Indiana, a state with roughly 16,000 to 18,000 attorneys, needs a fifth law school need to question the motives that drove their support of this project. Others, who have been "strong supporters" of the law school, should likewise ask themselves why they believe this institution should be supported. Is it because it fills some real need in the state? Or is it, instead, nothing more than a resume builder for those who teach there part-time? And others who make excuses for the students' poor performance, especially those who offer nothing more than conspiracy theories to back up their claims--who are they helping? What evidence do they have to support their posturing? Ultimately, though, like most everything in life, whether one succeeds or fails is entirely within one's own hands. At least one student from Indiana Tech proved this when he/she took and passed the February bar. A second Indiana Tech student proved this when they took the bar in another state and passed. As for the remaining 9 who took the bar and didn't pass (apparently, one of the students successfully appealed his/her original score), it's now up to them (and nobody else) to ensure that they pass on their second attempt. These folks should feel no shame; many currently successful practicing attorneys failed the bar exam on their first try. These same attorneys picked themselves up, dusted themselves off, and got back to the rigorous study needed to ensure they would pass on their second go 'round. This is what the Indiana Tech students who didn't pass the first time need to do. Of course, none of this answers such questions as whether Indiana Tech should be accredited by the ABA, whether the school should keep its doors open, or, most importantly, whether it should have even opened its doors in the first place. Those who promoted the idea of a fifth law school in Indiana need to do a lot of soul-searching regarding their decisions. These same people should never be allowed, again, to have a say about the future of legal education in this state or anywhere else. Indiana already has four law schools. That's probably one more than it really needs. But it's more than enough.

  5. This man Steve Hubbard goes on any online post or forum he can find and tries to push his company. He said court reporters would be obsolete a few years ago, yet here we are. How does he have time to search out every single post about court reporters and even spy in private court reporting forums if his company is so successful???? Dude, get a life. And back to what this post was about, I agree that some national firms cause a huge problem.