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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 His probation was revoked for violations by order dated May 3, 2006, and the Supreme Court suspended him for six months without automatic reinstatement effective June 12, 2006.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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  1. I grew up on a farm and live in the county and it's interesting that the big industrial farmers like Jeff Shoaf don't live next to their industrial operations...

  2. So that none are misinformed by my posting wihtout a non de plume here, please allow me to state that I am NOT an Indiana licensed attorney, although I am an Indiana resident approved to practice law and represent clients in Indiana's fed court of Nth Dist and before the 7th circuit. I remain licensed in KS, since 1996, no discipline. This must be clarified since the IN court records will reveal that I did sit for and pass the Indiana bar last February. Yet be not confused by the fact that I was so allowed to be tested .... I am not, to be clear in the service of my duty to be absolutely candid about this, I AM NOT a member of the Indiana bar, and might never be so licensed given my unrepented from errors of thought documented in this opinion, at fn2, which likely supports Mr Smith's initial post in this thread: http://caselaw.findlaw.com/us-7th-circuit/1592921.html

  3. When I served the State of Kansas as Deputy AG over Consumer Protection & Antitrust for four years, supervising 20 special agents and assistant attorneys general (back before the IBLE denied me the right to practice law in Indiana for not having the right stuff and pretty much crushed my legal career) we had a saying around the office: Resist the lure of the ring!!! It was a take off on Tolkiem, the idea that absolute power (I signed investigative subpoenas as a judge would in many other contexts, no need to show probable cause)could corrupt absolutely. We feared that we would overreach constitutional limits if not reminded, over and over, to be mindful to not do so. Our approach in so challenging one another was Madisonian, as the following quotes from the Father of our Constitution reveal: The essence of Government is power; and power, lodged as it must be in human hands, will ever be liable to abuse. We are right to take alarm at the first experiment upon our liberties. I believe there are more instances of the abridgement of freedom of the people by gradual and silent encroachments by those in power than by violent and sudden usurpations. Liberty may be endangered by the abuse of liberty, but also by the abuse of power. All men having power ought to be mistrusted. -- James Madison, Federalist Papers and other sources: http://www.constitution.org/jm/jm_quotes.htm RESIST THE LURE OF THE RING ALL YE WITH POLITICAL OR JUDICIAL POWER!

  4. My dear Mr Smith, I respect your opinions and much enjoy your posts here. We do differ on our view of the benefits and viability of the American Experiment in Ordered Liberty. While I do agree that it could be better, and that your points in criticism are well taken, Utopia does indeed mean nowhere. I think Madison, Jefferson, Adams and company got it about as good as it gets in a fallen post-Enlightenment social order. That said, a constitution only protects the citizens if it is followed. We currently have a bevy of public officials and judicial agents who believe that their subjectivism, their personal ideology, their elitist fears and concerns and cause celebs trump the constitutions of our forefathers. This is most troubling. More to follow in the next post on that subject.

  5. Yep I am not Bryan Brown. Bryan you appear to be a bigger believer in the Constitution than I am. Were I still a big believer then I might be using my real name like you. Personally, I am no longer a fan of secularism. I favor the confessional state. In religious mattes, it seems to me that social diversity is chaos and conflict, while uniformity is order and peace.... secularism has been imposed by America on other nations now by force and that has not exactly worked out very well.... I think the American historical experiment with disestablishmentarianism is withering on the vine before our eyes..... Since I do not know if that is OK for an officially licensed lawyer to say, I keep the nom de plume.

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