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Disciplinary Actions - 3/2/11

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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.

Resignation
Ernest M. Beal Jr. of Allen County has resigned from the Indiana bar. Beals resignation was accepted effective immediately in a Supreme Court order filed Feb. 10, 2011. Beals is ineligible to petition for reinstatement to the practice of law in Indiana for five years.

Suspension
Patrick K. Rocchio of Branch County, Mich., has been suspended from the practice of law in Indiana for a period of not less than 180 days, without automatic reinstatement, in a Supreme Court per curiam filed Feb. 11, 2011. The suspension was effective immediately. According to the court, Rocchio violated Indiana Professional Conduct Rule 7.2(c)(3) and (d)(2) by including in a public communication a statement intended or likely to create an unjustified expectation and statistical data or other information based on past performance or prediction of future success; Rule 7.3(c) by using a written solicitation for professional employment without labeling it as “Advertising Material” and filing it with the commission; and Rule 5.5(b)(2) by falsely representing on his websites that he was licensed to practice law in Indiana when his license was inactive.

In its order, the court stated that this attorney misconduct, standing alone, would warrant a sanction in the lowest range. However, it said Rocchio’s conduct during the disciplinary process demonstrated his inability to recognize his clear violations of Indiana’s disciplinary rules, his contempt for those rules and the process, and his lack of appreciation for the role of the court hearing officer and the disciplinary commission members and staff.

Public reprimand
Heather McClure O’Farrell of Hamilton County has received a public reprimand in a Supreme Court per curiam filed Feb. 11, 2011. The court concluded that by charging nonrefundable flat fees, O’Farrell violated Indiana Professional Conduct Rule 1.5(a) which prohibits making agreements for and charging unreasonable fees.•

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