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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.

Disbarment
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.

Suspension
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.

Resignation
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. The child support award is many times what the custodial parent earns, and exceeds the actual costs of providing for the children's needs. My fiance and I have agreed that if we divorce, that the children will be provided for using a shared checking account like this one(http://www.mediate.com/articles/if_they_can_do_parenting_plans.cfm) to avoid the hidden alimony in Indiana's child support guidelines.

  2. Fiat justitia ruat caelum is a Latin legal phrase, meaning "Let justice be done though the heavens fall." The maxim signifies the belief that justice must be realized regardless of consequences.

  3. Indiana up holds this behavior. the state police know they got it made.

  4. 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.

  5. Agreed on 4th Amendment call - that was just bad policing that resulted in dismissal for repeat offender. What kind of parent names their boy "Kriston"?

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