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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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