ILNews

Disciplinary Actions - 11/9/11

IL Staff
November 9, 2011
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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.

Suspension
Patrick V. Baker of Marion County has been suspended from the practice of law in Indiana for a period of not less than six months, without automatic reinstatement, beginning Nov. 25, 2011. An order from the Indiana Supreme Court Oct. 21, 2011, approved a statement of circumstances and conditional agreement for discipline and found Baker violated Indiana Professional Conduct Rules 1.4(b) failure to explain a matter to the extent reasonably necessary to permit a client to make an informed decision; 1.5(a) making an agreement for, charging or collecting an unreasonable amount for expenses; 3.4(e) alluding to any matter in trial that the lawyer doesn’t reasonably believe will be supported by admissible evidence; 4.1(a) knowingly making a false statement of material fact or law to a third person in the course of representing a client; and 7.3(a) improperly soliciting employment in person from a person with whom the lawyer has no prior relationship when a significant motive is the lawyer’s pecuniary gain. Baker in 2006 visited an incarcerated man who’d been indicted for murder and agreed to represent him pro bono, despite a public defender already being appointed. Baker made opening statements about the police investigation that were false and the court found he should have known the evidence wouldn’t support the statements. After the man was found guilty and sentenced to 65 years, Baker agreed to represent him pro bono on appeal. The lawyer told the man’s mother the trial court would pay the copying and filing costs, even though he hadn’t requested funds from the court. He also gave the man’s mother briefs that weren’t properly file-stamped or had grammatical errors, and Baker convinced the mother to pay $1,500 to cover the copying and filing costs. The parties found aggravating factors: Baker’s misconduct was motivated by selfishness because he expected publicity from the case would lead to an increase in business; that he victimized three vulnerable people involved in the case; and Baker made multiple ethical violations and demonstrated a gross disregard for the professional conduct rules.

Suspension Terminated
Jacob A. Atanga of Marion County had his suspension from the practice of law for failure to cooperate in a disciplinary case terminated by the Supreme Court, as of Oct. 21, 2011. He was suspended in August for non-cooperation.

Deborah D. Kubley of Monroe County had her suspension from the practice of law for failure to cooperate in a disciplinary case terminated by the Supreme Court, as of Oct. 17, 2011. She was suspended in December 2010 for noncooperation.•
 

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  1. This law is troubling in two respects: First, why wasn't the law reviewed "with the intention of getting all the facts surrounding the legislation and its actual impact on the marketplace" BEFORE it was passed and signed? Seems a bit backwards to me (even acknowledging that this is the Indiana state legislature we're talking about. Second, what is it with the laws in this state that seem to create artificial monopolies in various industries? Besides this one, the other law that comes to mind is the legislation that governed the granting of licenses to firms that wanted to set up craft distilleries. The licensing was limited to only those entities that were already in the craft beer brewing business. Republicans in this state talk a big game when it comes to being "business friendly". They're friendly alright . . . to certain businesses.

  2. Gretchen, Asia, Roberto, Tonia, Shannon, Cheri, Nicholas, Sondra, Carey, Laura ... my heart breaks for you, reaching out in a forum in which you are ignored by a professional suffering through both compassion fatigue and the love of filthy lucre. Most if not all of you seek a warm blooded Hoosier attorney unafraid to take on the government and plead that government officials have acted unconstitutionally to try to save a family and/or rescue children in need and/or press individual rights against the Leviathan state. I know an attorney from Kansas who has taken such cases across the country, arguing before half of the federal courts of appeal and presenting cases to the US S.Ct. numerous times seeking cert. Unfortunately, due to his zeal for the constitutional rights of peasants and willingness to confront powerful government bureaucrats seemingly violating the same ... he was denied character and fitness certification to join the Indiana bar, even after he was cleared to sit for, and passed, both the bar exam and ethics exam. And was even admitted to the Indiana federal bar! NOW KNOW THIS .... you will face headwinds and difficulties in locating a zealously motivated Hoosier attorney to face off against powerful government agents who violate the constitution, for those who do so tend to end up as marginalized as Paul Odgen, who was driven from the profession. So beware, many are mere expensive lapdogs, the kind of breed who will gladly take a large retainer, but then fail to press against the status quo and powers that be when told to heel to. It is a common belief among some in Indiana that those attorneys who truly fight the power and rigorously confront corruption often end up, actually or metaphorically, in real life or at least as to their careers, as dead as the late, great Gary Welch. All of that said, I wish you the very best in finding a Hoosier attorney with a fighting spirit to press your rights as far as you can, for you do have rights against government actors, no matter what said actors may tell you otherwise. Attorneys outside the elitist camp are often better fighters that those owing the powers that be for their salaries, corner offices and end of year bonuses. So do not be afraid to retain a green horn or unconnected lawyer, many of them are fine men and woman who are yet untainted by the "unique" Hoosier system.

  3. I am not the John below. He is a journalist and talk show host who knows me through my years working in Kansas government. I did no ask John to post the note below ...

  4. "...not those committed in the heat of an argument." If I ever see a man physically abusing a woman or a child and I'm close enough to intercede I will not ask him why he is abusing her/him. I will give him a split second to cease his attack and put his hands in the air while I call the police. If he continues, I will still call the police but to report, "Man down with a gunshot wound,"instead.

  5. And so the therapeutic state is weaonized. How soon until those with ideologies opposing the elite are disarmed in the name of mental health? If it can start anywhere it can start in the hoosiers' slavishly politically correct capital city.

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