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Disciplinary Actions - 9/28/12

IL Staff
September 26, 2012
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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
John L. Stewart, of Marion County, has been suspended from practice for 180 days, with 90 days actively served and the remainder stayed subject to completion of at least two years of probation, per an Aug. 30, 2012, order. Stewart was convicted by a jury of operating while intoxicated with a prior conviction as a Class D felony, and related misdemeanors. Stewart did not report two prior guilty pleas to drunk-driving offenses with the disciplinary commission.

The justices found he violated Ind. Professional Conduct Rule 8.4(b) and Ind. Admission and Discipline Rule 23(11.1)(a)(2). The Supreme Court issued an interim suspension which took effect July 20. The costs of the proceedings are assessed against Stewart.

Blair A. Brown, of Adams County, has been suspended by the Indiana Supreme Court for 30 days, per an Aug. 30, 2012, order. The justices found he violated Indiana Professional Conduct Rules 1.3, 1.4(a), and 1.4(b) for not informing his client about the status of his appeal or taking further action. Brown was appointed in 1989 to pursue a criminal appeal of a client sentenced to 100 years on two child molesting convictions. It wasn’t until 2007 that the client, pro se, requested a new appellate counsel, who filed the client’s belated appeal.

The costs of the proceedings are assessed against Brown. His suspension begins Oct. 12.

Janice R. Gambill, of Porter County, has been suspended for at least six months without automatic reinstatement, per a Sept. 7, 2012, order. Gambill was hired in April 2008 to file a legal malpractice action against an Illinois attorney who represented the client in a personal injury case in an Illinois state court. Gambill filed a personal injury action in the Northern District of Indiana, which was dismissed. She then failed to respond to the client’s request for information about the legal malpractice action and lied about the matter. In 2010, she filed the legal malpractice against the Illinois attorney. The client terminated Gambill and hired a new attorney.

The justices cited Gambill’s disciplinary history, noting she was on probation when the current misconduct occurred. She violated Indiana Professional Conduct Rules 1.1: Failure to provide competent representation; 1.2(a): Failure to abide by a client’s decisions concerning the objectives of representation; 1.3: Failure to act with reasonable diligence and promptness; 1.4(b): Failure to explain a matter to the extent reasonably necessary to permit a client to make informed decisions; and 8.4(c): Engaging in conduct involving dishonesty, fraud, deceit or misrepresentation. The costs of the proceeding are assessed against Gambill.

Deborah S. Davis Julian f/k/a Kubley, of Johnson County, has been suspended for at least two years without automatic reinstatement, as of Sept. 7, 2012. Julian admitted to six counts of professional misconduct occurring between 2008 and 2011, including neglecting clients’ cases, failing to refund unearned fees, and failing to do the work for which she was hired. She has no disciplinary history and has completed a 90-day residential treatment program for alcohol addiction.

Julian also is currently suspended for noncooperation. The justices found she violated Indiana Professional Conduct Rules 1.3: Failure to act with reasonable diligence and promptness; 1.4(a)(3): Failure to keep a client reasonably informed about the status of a matter; 1.4(a)(4): Failure to comply promptly with a client’s reasonable requests for information; 1.16(d): After the termination of representation, failure to protect a client’s interests and failure to refund an unearned fee; 3.3: Failing to disclose a material fact to a tribunal; and 8.1(b): Knowingly failing to respond to a lawful demand for information from an admissions or disciplinary authority.

She must continue Judges and Lawyer Assistance Program monitoring. Justice Steven David dissented, believing disbarment is appropriate.

Contempt
Brian L. Nehrig, of Hamilton County, has been found in contempt of court for practicing law after resigning from the bar, per a Sept. 7, 2012 order. Nehrig pleaded guilty to mail fraud and was sentenced to three years’ probation in federal court for his role in a foreclosure scheme. He engaged in a pattern of fraudulent practices in representing a mortgage company in foreclosure actions, including altering sheriff’s deeds. He resigned from the bar in August 2007.

Nehrig has since been renting office space at the law office of John R. McManus Jr. and performing some work for the firm, including facilitating “short sales” of real estate. He has violated Admission and Discipline Rule 23(26)(b) by working at the office.

The justices fined Nehrig $1,000 and extended his removal from practice for an additional 120 days, effective at the end of his five-year removal from practice which began Aug 13, 2007. He has 60 days from Sept. 7 to pay the fine, and the costs of the proceeding are assessed against Nehrig.

Public reprimand
John T. McManus Jr., of Hamilton County, has received a public reprimand from the Indiana Supreme Court for his role in helping an attorney commit unauthorized practice of law. McManus allowed Brian Nehrig, who resigned from the bar following a federal conviction and investigation by the disciplinary commission, to rent space at his office. He knew Nehrig was involved in facilitating short sales but was not aware of outside activities Nehrig performed, such as working on tax issues or negotiating loan modifications.

The justices found in a Sept. 7, 2012, order that McManus violated Rule 5.5(a) by assisting Nehrig, “albeit indirectly” in the unauthorized practice of law. The costs of the proceeding are assessed against McManus.

Reinstatement
Patrick M. Schrems, of Monroe County, has been conditionally reinstated as a member of the Indiana bar and placed on probation for at least two years, according to an Aug. 30, 2012, order. Schrems was initially suspended for at least six months without automatic reinstatement on June 7, 2011. As part of his probation, Schrems must continue his monitoring agreement with the Indiana Judges and Lawyers Assistance Program. Any costs owed must be paid by Schrems.•

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  1. Applause, applause, applause ..... but, is this duty to serve the constitutional order not much more incumbent upon the State, whose only aim is to be pure and unadulterated justice, than defense counsel, who is also charged with gaining a result for a client? I agree both are responsible, but it seems to me that the government attorneys bear a burden much heavier than defense counsel .... "“I note, much as we did in Mechling v. State, 16 N.E.3d 1015 (Ind. Ct. App. 2014), trans. denied, that the attorneys representing the State and the defendant are both officers of the court and have a responsibility to correct any obvious errors at the time they are committed."

  2. Do I have to hire an attorney to get co-guardianship of my brother? My father has guardianship and my older sister was his co-guardian until this Dec 2014 when she passed and my father was me to go on as the co-guardian, but funds are limit and we need to get this process taken care of quickly as our fathers health isn't the greatest. So please advise me if there is anyway to do this our self or if it requires a lawyer? Thank you

  3. I have been on this program while on parole from 2011-2013. No person should be forced mentally to share private details of their personal life with total strangers. Also giving permission for a mental therapist to report to your parole agent that your not participating in group therapy because you don't have the financial mean to be in the group therapy. I was personally singled out and sent back three times for not having money and also sent back within the six month when you aren't to be sent according to state law. I will work to het this INSOMM's removed from this state. I also had twelve or thirteen parole agents with a fifteen month period. Thanks for your time.

  4. Our nation produces very few jurists of the caliber of Justice DOUGLAS and his peers these days. Here is that great civil libertarian, who recognized government as both a blessing and, when corrupted by ideological interests, a curse: "Once the investigator has only the conscience of government as a guide, the conscience can become ‘ravenous,’ as Cromwell, bent on destroying Thomas More, said in Bolt, A Man For All Seasons (1960), p. 120. The First Amendment mirrors many episodes where men, harried and harassed by government, sought refuge in their conscience, as these lines of Thomas More show: ‘MORE: And when we stand before God, and you are sent to Paradise for doing according to your conscience, *575 and I am damned for not doing according to mine, will you come with me, for fellowship? ‘CRANMER: So those of us whose names are there are damned, Sir Thomas? ‘MORE: I don't know, Your Grace. I have no window to look into another man's conscience. I condemn no one. ‘CRANMER: Then the matter is capable of question? ‘MORE: Certainly. ‘CRANMER: But that you owe obedience to your King is not capable of question. So weigh a doubt against a certainty—and sign. ‘MORE: Some men think the Earth is round, others think it flat; it is a matter capable of question. But if it is flat, will the King's command make it round? And if it is round, will the King's command flatten it? No, I will not sign.’ Id., pp. 132—133. DOUGLAS THEN WROTE: Where government is the Big Brother,11 privacy gives way to surveillance. **909 But our commitment is otherwise. *576 By the First Amendment we have staked our security on freedom to promote a multiplicity of ideas, to associate at will with kindred spirits, and to defy governmental intrusion into these precincts" Gibson v. Florida Legislative Investigation Comm., 372 U.S. 539, 574-76, 83 S. Ct. 889, 908-09, 9 L. Ed. 2d 929 (1963) Mr. Justice DOUGLAS, concurring. I write: Happy Memorial Day to all -- God please bless our fallen who lived and died to preserve constitutional governance in our wonderful series of Republics. And God open the eyes of those government officials who denounce the constitutions of these Republics by arbitrary actions arising out capricious motives.

  5. From back in the day before secularism got a stranglehold on Hoosier jurists comes this great excerpt via Indiana federal court judge Allan Sharp, dedicated to those many Indiana government attorneys (with whom I have dealt) who count the law as a mere tool, an optional tool that is not to be used when political correctness compels a more acceptable result than merely following the path that the law directs: ALLEN SHARP, District Judge. I. In a scene following a visit by Henry VIII to the home of Sir Thomas More, playwriter Robert Bolt puts the following words into the mouths of his characters: Margaret: Father, that man's bad. MORE: There is no law against that. ROPER: There is! God's law! MORE: Then God can arrest him. ROPER: Sophistication upon sophistication! MORE: No, sheer simplicity. The law, Roper, the law. I know what's legal not what's right. And I'll stick to what's legal. ROPER: Then you set man's law above God's! MORE: No, far below; but let me draw your attention to a fact I'm not God. The currents and eddies of right and wrong, which you find such plain sailing, I can't navigate. I'm no voyager. But in the thickets of law, oh, there I'm a forester. I doubt if there's a man alive who could follow me there, thank God... ALICE: (Exasperated, pointing after Rich) While you talk, he's gone! MORE: And go he should, if he was the Devil himself, until he broke the law! ROPER: So now you'd give the Devil benefit of law! MORE: Yes. What would you do? Cut a great road through the law to get after the Devil? ROPER: I'd cut down every law in England to do that! MORE: (Roused and excited) Oh? (Advances on Roper) And when the last law was down, and the Devil turned round on you where would you hide, Roper, the laws being flat? (He leaves *1257 him) This country's planted thick with laws from coast to coast man's laws, not God's and if you cut them down and you're just the man to do it d'you really think you would stand upright in the winds that would blow then? (Quietly) Yes, I'd give the Devil benefit of law, for my own safety's sake. ROPER: I have long suspected this; this is the golden calf; the law's your god. MORE: (Wearily) Oh, Roper, you're a fool, God's my god... (Rather bitterly) But I find him rather too (Very bitterly) subtle... I don't know where he is nor what he wants. ROPER: My God wants service, to the end and unremitting; nothing else! MORE: (Dryly) Are you sure that's God! He sounds like Moloch. But indeed it may be God And whoever hunts for me, Roper, God or Devil, will find me hiding in the thickets of the law! And I'll hide my daughter with me! Not hoist her up the mainmast of your seagoing principles! They put about too nimbly! (Exit More. They all look after him). Pgs. 65-67, A MAN FOR ALL SEASONS A Play in Two Acts, Robert Bolt, Random House, New York, 1960. Linley E. Pearson, Atty. Gen. of Indiana, Indianapolis, for defendants. Childs v. Duckworth, 509 F. Supp. 1254, 1256 (N.D. Ind. 1981) aff'd, 705 F.2d 915 (7th Cir. 1983)

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