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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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  3. 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.

  4. 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.

  5. 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.

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