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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. On a related note, I offered the ICLU my cases against the BLE repeatedly, and sought their amici aid repeatedly as well. Crickets. Usually not even a response. I am guessing they do not do allegations of anti-Christian bias? No matter how glaring? I have posted on other links the amicus brief that did get filed (search this ezine, e.g., Kansas attorney), read the Thomas More Society brief to note what the ACLU ran from like vampires from garlic. An Examiner pledged to advance diversity and inclusion came right out on the record and demanded that I choose Man's law or God's law. I wonder, had I been asked to swear off Allah ... what result then, ICLU? Had I been found of bad character and fitness for advocating sexual deviance, what result then ICLU? Had I been lifetime banned for posting left of center statements denigrating the US Constitution, what result ICLU? Hey, we all know don't we? Rather Biased.

  2. It was mentioned in the article that there have been numerous CLE events to train attorneys on e-filing. I would like someone to provide a list of those events, because I have not seen any such events in east central Indiana, and since Hamilton County is one of the counties where e-filing is mandatory, one would expect some instruction in this area. Come on, people, give some instruction, not just applause!

  3. 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.

  4. 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.

  5. 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 ...

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