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Disciplinary Actions - 12/8/10

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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

Jerry I. Shapiro of Lake County has been suspended from the practice of law in Indiana for a period of not less than three years, without automatic reinstatement. The order was issued by the Indiana Supreme Court Nov. 30, 2010, and was effective immediately. Shapiro was currently suspended for CLE noncompliance and dues nonpayment, and for noncooperation with the Commission.

Shapiro was hired by the daughter of a Lake County woman to handle her mother’s probate estate. (The daughter lives in Poland.) After the sale of the decedent’s home, Shapiro failed to move forward with the closing of the estate, failed to pay state inheritance taxes, failed to file an inventory, failed to respond to the daughter’s requests for information, and made unauthorized payments totaling $24,000 to himself from estate assets. He failed to obey a court order that he provide an accounting and documents pertaining to the estate to new counsel. This resulted in the trial court issuing a bench warrant for his arrest.

The court found that Shapiro violated Indiana Professional Conduct Rules 1.1, failure to provide competent representation; 1.3, failure to act with reasonable diligence and promptness; 1.4(a)(3), failure to keep a client reasonably informed about the status of a matter; 1.4(a)(4), failure to comply promptly with a client’s reasonable requests for information; 1.15(d), failure to deliver promptly to a client funds the client is entitled to receive; 8.4(b), committing a criminal act that reflects adversely on the lawyer’s honesty, trustworthiness, or fitness as a lawyer; 8.4(c), engaging in conduct involving dishonesty, fraud, deceit or misrepresentation; 8.4(d), engaging in conduct prejudicial to the administration of justice.

Jay F. Tweedy 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 Dec. 31, 2010. In an order filed Nov. 30, 2010, the Indiana Supreme Court suspended Tweedy for violating Indiana Professional Conduct Rule 8.4(b) which prohibits committing a criminal act that reflects adversely on honesty, trustworthiness, or fitness as a lawyer. Tweedy pleaded guilty in December 2009 to public intoxication. He has five prior convictions for operating a vehicle while intoxicated. Four occurred after his admission to the bar.

Kurt F. Pantzer III of Marion County has been suspended from the practice of law in Indiana for a period of not less than 90 days, without automatic reinstatement, beginning Jan. 7, 2011. In an order filed Nov. 30, 2010, the Indiana Supreme Court suspended Pantzer for engaging in professional misconduct. The court said he knew statements made in a motion and draft order were false. The court found that Pantzer violated Indiana Professional Conduct Rules 3.3(a)(1), knowingly making a false statement of fact or law to a tribunal; 3.4(a), unlawfully obstructing another party’s access to evidence; 3.4(b), falsifying evidence; 8.4(c), engaging in conduct involving dishonesty, fraud, deceit or misrepresentation.•

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  1. Just an aside, but regardless of the outcome, I 'm proud of Judge William Hughes. He was the original magistrate on the Home place issue. He ruled for Home Place, and was primaried by Brainard for it. Their tool Poindexter failed to unseat Hughes, who won support for his honesty and courage throughout the county, and he was reelected Judge of Hamilton County's Superior Court. You can still stand for something and survive. Thanks, Judge Hughes!

  2. CCHP's real accomplishment is the 2015 law signed by Gov Pence that basically outlaws any annexation that is forced where a 65% majority of landowners in the affected area disagree. Regardless of whether HP wins or loses, the citizens of Indiana will not have another fiasco like this. The law Gov Pence signed is a direct result of this malgovernance.

  3. I gave tempparry guardship to a friend of my granddaughter in 2012. I went to prison. I had custody. My daughter went to prison to. We are out. My daughter gave me custody but can get her back. She was not order to give me custody . but now we want granddaughter back from friend. She's 14 now. What rights do we have

  4. This sure is not what most who value good governance consider the Rule of Law to entail: "In a letter dated March 2, which Brizzi forwarded to IBJ, the commission dismissed the grievance “on grounds that there is not reasonable cause to believe that you are guilty of misconduct.”" Yet two month later reasonable cause does exist? (Or is the commission forging ahead, the need for reasonable belief be damned? -- A seeming violation of the Rules of Profession Ethics on the part of the commission) Could the rule of law theory cause one to believe that an explanation is in order? Could it be that Hoosier attorneys live under Imperial Law (which is also a t-word that rhymes with infamy) in which the Platonic guardians can do no wrong and never owe the plebeian class any explanation for their powerful actions. (Might makes it right?) Could this be a case of politics directing the commission, as celebrated IU Mauer Professor (the late) Patrick Baude warned was happening 20 years ago in his controversial (whisteblowing) ethics lecture on a quite similar topic: http://www.repository.law.indiana.edu/cgi/viewcontent.cgi?article=1498&context=ilj

  5. I have a case presently pending cert review before the SCOTUS that reveals just how Indiana regulates the bar. I have been denied licensure for life for holding the wrong views and questioning the grand inquisitors as to their duties as to state and federal constitutional due process. True story: https://www.scribd.com/doc/299040839/2016Petitionforcert-to-SCOTUS Shorter, Amici brief serving to frame issue as misuse of govt licensure: https://www.scribd.com/doc/312841269/Thomas-More-Society-Amicus-Brown-v-Ind-Bd-of-Law-Examiners

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