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Disciplinary Actions - 11/10/10

November 10, 2010
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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.

Suspensions
Debra Lee Fannin Hill a/k/a Debra Fannin Graham has been suspended indefinitely from the practice of law in Indiana effective Oct. 25, 2010, according to a Supreme Court order imposing reciprocal discipline. Hill is admitted to practice law in Indiana and Tennessee, and was disbarred by the Supreme Court of Tennessee June 16, 2010. Hill was already suspended in Indiana pursuant to an order of reciprocal discipline dated Dec. 10, 2009, based on a July 8, 2009, order of suspension by the Supreme Court of Tennessee.

Steven F. Fillenwarth of Marion County has had his effective date of suspension postponed, according to a Supreme Court order Nov. 4. The Supreme Court ordered his suspension to begin Nov. 12, but Fillenwarth filed a motion to postpone until Jan. 17, 2011, to allow him to complete his current tour of duty in Iraq with the Army JAG Corps. The justices granted the motion and postponed his suspension until Jan. 17. Justice Steven David did not participate in the case.

Reinstatement
Thomas W. Belleperche of Allen County has been conditionally reinstated as a member of the Indiana bar subject to the terms and conditions of probation stated in an Oct. 25, 2010, order from the Supreme Court. Belleperche had been suspended for six months on Sept. 27, 2005, all stayed, subject to probation of at least 24 months. His probation was revoked for violations by order dated May 3, 2006, and the Supreme Court suspended him for six months without automatic reinstatement effective June 12, 2006. Belleperche filed a petition for reinstatement Jan. 6, 2010, and on Sept. 20, 2010, the Disciplinary Commission filed its recommendation that he be reinstated to the practice of law conditioned on certain terms of probation.

Belleperche will be reinstated subject to successful completion of probation of at least three years on terms to be determined by JLAP consistent with the hearing officer’s recommendations; he shall have no violations of the terms set by JLAP, the law, or the Rules of Professional Conduct during his probation; and if he violates his probation the commission may petition the Supreme Court to revoke his probation and to re-impose his suspension without automatic reinstatement. •

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