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Disciplinary Actions -4/24/13

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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.

Public reprimand
Ray W. Robison, of Lawrence County, has been publicly reprimanded by the Indiana Supreme Court in an April 9 order. The attorney signed a co-representative’s name on a document and forwarded it to be signed by the other co-representative, who recognized that the signature was not her sister’s.

Robison violated Indiana Professional Conduct Rule 8.4(c), which prohibits engaging in conduct involving dishonesty, fraud, deceit or misrepresentation. The costs of the proceeding are assessed against Robison.

Chief Justice Brent Dickson dissented, to which Justice Loretta Rush concurred, believing Robison should receive a substantial period of suspension.

Suspension
Edgardo J. Martinez Suarez, of Hamilton County, has been suspended for 60 days by the Indiana Supreme Court in an April 2 order. The suspension is stayed subject to completion of at least two years of probation.

Martinez Suarez violated several Indiana Professional Conduct and Admission and Discipline rules, including Professional Conduct Rule 1.5(b) for failure to timely withdraw earned fees and personal monies from client trust account funds; and Admission and Discipline Rule 23(29)(a)(2) and (3) for failure to maintain proper records for trust account activities. An in-house audit of Martinez Suarez’s trust account by the Disciplinary Commission revealed violations from 2006 to 2012, including at least six instances of paying personal and business expenses from the trust account. The costs of the proceeding are assessed against him.

Marisa Aguilar, of Marion County, has been suspended for 30 days by the Indiana Supreme Court in an April 2 order. The suspension is stayed subject to completion of at least two years of probation.

Aguilar violated several Indiana Professional Conduct and Admission and Discipline rules, including Professional Conduct Rule 1.15(a) for failure to maintain and preserve complete records of client trust fund accounts; and Admission and Discipline Rule 23(29)(a)(5) for making withdrawals from a trust account without written withdrawal authorization stating the amount and purpose of the withdrawal and payee.

The Disciplinary Commission learned of an overdraft on Aguilar’s trust account, and she failed to respond to demands for a documented explanation. Her trust account was audited after a grievance was filed and showed that she made several deposits and disbursements from her trust account without creating or retaining adequate documentation. The costs of the proceeding are assessed against her.

Octavia F. Snulligan, of Marion County, has been suspended immediately by the Indiana Supreme Court for noncooperation with the Disciplinary Commission, per an April 15 order. The suspension will continue until the Disciplinary Commission executive secretary certifies that Snulligan has cooperated with the investigation; the investigation or any disciplinary proceedings arising from the investigation are disposed of; or until further order from the Supreme Court.

The costs of the proceeding are assessed against Snulligan.•
 

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  5. Additional Points: -Civility in the profession: Treating others with respect will not only move others to respect you, it will show a shared respect for the legal system we are all sworn to protect. When attorneys engage in unnecessary personal attacks, they lose the respect and favor of judges, jurors, the person being attacked, and others witnessing or reading the communication. It's not always easy to put anger aside, but if you don't, you will lose respect, credibility, cases, clients & jobs or job opportunities. -Read Rule 22 of the Admission & Discipline Rules. Capture that spirit and apply those principles in your daily work. -Strive to represent clients in a manner that communicates the importance you place on the legal matter you're privileged to handle for them. -There are good lawyers of all ages, but no one is perfect. Older lawyers can learn valuable skills from younger lawyers who tend to be more adept with new technologies that can improve work quality and speed. Older lawyers have already tackled more legal issues and worked through more of the problems encountered when representing clients on various types of legal matters. If there's mutual respect and a willingness to learn from each other, it will help make both attorneys better lawyers. -Erosion of the public trust in lawyers wears down public confidence in the rule of law. Always keep your duty to the profession in mind. -You can learn so much by asking questions & actively listening to instructions and advice from more experienced attorneys, regardless of how many years or decades you've each practiced law. Don't miss out on that chance.

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