Disciplinary Actions - 11/24/10

November 24, 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.

William J. Rawls of Marion County has been disbarred from the practice of law in the state of Indiana effective Dec. 27, 2010. The Indiana Supreme Court found that Rawls engaged in a pattern of serious violations of the Indiana Professional Conduct Rules. His history of discipline, including a prior suspension for misconduct, was a substantial fact in aggravation.

Other prior discipline included suspensions for CLE noncompliance, dues nonpayment, and noncooperation with the Indiana Supreme Court Disciplinary Commission (which were dismissed after compliance).

In the Per Curiam order filed Nov. 12, 2010, the court stated, “Respondent has demonstrated a pattern of neglect of his clients’ cases, resulting in adverse dispositions, suspension of one client’s driver’s license, a missed opportunity to settle, and undue delay. Respondent made a series of intentional misrepresentations to the Commission during its investigations of grievances. Respondent created a fraudulent receipt, criminally forged a client’s name on it, and submitted it to the Commission, acting as an agency of this Court, with the intent of deceiving the Commission.”

The order states that the hearing officer recommended that the discipline “imposed should be severe, in accordance with [Respondent’s] dereliction of his duties.” The commission filed a brief on sanction arguing that Rawls misconduct, coupled with his prior suspensions, warranted disbarment. In its order of disbarment, the court acknowledged the severity of this sanction, stating that it is reserved for the most serious misconduct.

Andrew E. Clark of Marion County has been suspended from the practice of law in Indiana effective immediately. In an order filed Nov. 3, 2010, the Indiana Supreme Court suspended Clark for noncooperation with the Indiana Supreme Court Disciplinary Commission. Pursuant to Admission and Discipline Rule 23(10)(f)(3), the suspension will continue until: (1) the Disciplinary Commission certifies that Clark has cooperated fully with the investigation; the investigation or any disciplinary proceedings arising from the investigation are disposed of; or until further order of the court.

Mark A. Ryan of Howard County has resigned from the Indiana bar effective immediately. In an order issued Nov. 12, 2010, the Indiana Supreme Court accepted Ryan’s resignation and dismissed any attorney disciplinary proceedings pending against him.

Clark is ineligible for petition for reinstatement to the practice of law in Indiana for five years. Approval of a petition for reinstatement is discretionary and requires clear and convincing evidence of his remorse, rehabilitation, and fitness to practice law.•


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  1. Lori, you must really love wedding cake stories like this one ... happy enuf ending for you?

  2. This new language about a warning has not been discussed at previous meetings. It's not available online. Since it must be made public knowledge before the vote, does anyone know exactly what it says? Further, this proposal was held up for 5 weeks because members Carol and Lucy insisted that all terms used be defined. So now, definitions are unnecessary and have not been inserted? Beyond these requirements, what is the logic behind giving one free pass to discriminators? Is that how laws work - break it once and that's ok? Just don't do it again? Three members of Carmel's council have done just about everything they can think of to prohibit an anti-discrimination ordinance in Carmel, much to Brainard's consternation, I'm told. These three 'want to be so careful' that they have failed to do what at least 13 other communities, including Martinsville, have already done. It's not being careful. It's standing in the way of what 60% of Carmel residents want. It's hurting CArmel in thT businesses have refused to locate because the council has not gotten with the program. And now they want to give discriminatory one free shot to do so. Unacceptable. Once three members leave the council because they lost their races, the Carmel council will have unanimous approval of the ordinance as originally drafted, not with a one free shot to discriminate freebie. That happens in January 2016. Why give a freebie when all we have to do is wait 3 months and get an ordinance with teeth from Day 1? If nothing else, can you please get s copy from Carmel and post it so we can see what else has changed in the proposal?

  3. Here is an interesting 2012 law review article for any who wish to dive deeper into this subject matter: Excerpt: "Judicial interpretation of the ADA has extended public entity liability to licensing agencies in the licensure and certification of attorneys.49 State bar examiners have the authority to conduct fitness investigations for the purpose of determining whether an applicant is a direct threat to the public.50 A “direct threat” is defined as “a significant risk to the health or safety of others that cannot be eliminated by a modification of policies, practices or procedures, or by the provision of auxiliary aids or services as provided by § 35.139.”51 However, bar examiners may not utilize generalizations or stereotypes about the applicant’s disability in concluding that an applicant is a direct threat.52"

  4. We have been on the waiting list since 2009, i was notified almost 4 months ago that we were going to start receiving payments and we still have received nothing. Every time I call I'm told I just have to wait it's in the lawyers hands. Is everyone else still waiting?

  5. I hope you dont mind but to answer my question. What amendment does this case pretain to?