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. The practitioners and judges who hail E-filing as the Saviour of the West need to contain their respective excitements. E-filing is federal court requires the practitioner to cram his motion practice into pigeonholes created by IT people. Compound motions or those seeking alternative relief are effectively barred, unless the practitioner wants to receive a tart note from some functionary admonishing about the "problem". E-filing is just another method by which courts and judges transfer their burden to practitioners, who are the really the only powerless components of the system. Of COURSE it is easier for the court to require all of its imput to conform to certain formats, but this imposition does NOT improve the quality of the practice of law and does NOT improve the ability of the practitioner to advocate for his client or to fashion pleadings that exactly conform to his client's best interests. And we should be very wary of the disingenuous pablum about the costs. The courts will find a way to stick it to the practitioner. Lake County is a VERY good example of this rapaciousness. Any one who does not believe this is invited to review the various special fees that system imposes upon practitioners- as practitioners- and upon each case ON TOP of the court costs normal in every case manually filed. Jurisprudence according to Aldous Huxley.

  2. Any attorneys who practice in federal court should be able to say the same as I can ... efiling is great. I have been doing it in fed court since it started way back. Pacer has its drawbacks, but the ability to hit an e-docket and pull up anything and everything onscreen is a huge plus for a litigator, eps the sole practitioner, who lacks a filing clerk and the paralegal support of large firms. Were I an Indiana attorney I would welcome this great step forward.

  3. Can we get full disclosure on lobbyist's payments to legislatures such as Mr Buck? AS long as there are idiots that are disrespectful of neighbors and intent on shooting fireworks every night, some kind of regulations are needed.

  4. I am the mother of the child in this case. My silence on the matter was due to the fact that I filed, both in Illinois and Indiana, child support cases. I even filed supporting documentation with the Indiana family law court. Not sure whether this information was provided to the court of appeals or not. Wish the case was done before moving to Indiana, because no matter what, there is NO WAY the state of Illinois would have allowed an appeal on a child support case!

  5. "No one is safe when the Legislature is in session."

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