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Disciplinary Actions - 9/14/11

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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.

Reinstatement
Anna E. Fulkerson of Noble County was reinstated as a member of the Indiana bar in a Supreme Court order filed Aug. 24, 2011. Fulkerson was suspended on Sept. 14, 2009, without automatic reinstatement. Her reinstatement was subject to the following conditions: (1) successful completion of probation of at least two years on terms to be determined by JLAP, consistent with the hearing officer’s recommendations; (2) she has no violations of the terms set by JLAP, the law, or the Rules of Professional Conduct during the probation period; and (3) if she violates her probation, the commission may petition the court to revoke her probation and to re-impose the suspension without automatic reinstatement. Probation remains in effect until terminated pursuant to Admission and Discipline Rule 23(17.1).

Suspension
Todd E. Wallsmith of Knox County has been suspended from the practice of law in a Supreme Court order filed Aug. 19, 2011. Wallsmith is suspended for a period of 180 days, beginning Sept. 30, with 45 days actively served and the remainder stayed subject to completion of 24 months of probation with mental health treatment and JLAP monitoring. Wallsmith violated Indiana Professional Conduct Rules 1.2(a): Failure to abide by a client’s decisions concerning the objectives of representation; 1.3: Failure to act with reasonable diligence and promptness; 1.7(a): Representing a client when the representation is directly adverse to another client; and 3.3(a)(1): Knowingly making a false statement of fact to a tribunal and failing to correct a false statement of material fact previously made to the tribunal by the lawyer.

Timothy D. Freeman of Marion County has been suspended from the practice of law for noncooperation with the disciplinary commission. The suspension, provided in an order filed Aug. 19, 2011, was effective immediately. Pursuant to Admission and Discipline Rule 23(10)(f)(3), the suspension will continue until: (1) the executive secretary of the disciplinary commission certifies to the court that Freeman has cooperated fully with the investigation; (2) the investigation or any disciplinary proceedings arising from the investigation are disposed of; or (3) until further order of the court, provided no other suspensions are in effect. Freeman was already under a suspension order that became effective July 19, 2011.

Jacob A. Atanga of Marion County has been suspended from the practice of law for noncooperation with the disciplinary commission. The suspension, provided in an order filed Aug. 19, 2011, was effective immediately. Pursuant to Admission and Discipline Rule 23(10)(f)(3), the suspension will continue until: (1) the executive secretary of the disciplinary commission certifies to the court that Freeman has cooperated fully with the investigation; (2) the investigation or any disciplinary proceedings arising from the investigation are disposed of; or (3) until further order of the court, provided no other suspensions are in effect.

Bruce J. Goldberg of Floyd County has been suspended from the practice of law in a Supreme Court order filed Aug. 24, 2011. Goldberg is suspended for a period of 90 days, beginning Sept. 16, with 30 days actively served and the remainder stayed subject to completion of two years of probation. Goldberg was found to have violated Indiana Admission and Discipline Rules 23(29)(a)(2) and (3): Failure to maintain proper records for trust account activities; 23(29)(a)(4): Failure to deposit funds received on behalf of clients intact; 23(29)(a)(5): Making withdrawals from a trust account without written withdrawal authorization stating the amount and purpose of the withdrawal and the payee; and Indiana Professional Conduct Rule 1.15(a): Failure to hold property of clients properly in trust, failure to hold property of clients separate from lawyer’s own property, failure to safeguard client funds, and failure to maintain complete records of client trust account funds. While the court said the terms of probation will include correction of all trust account errors, trust account monitoring, and a designated number of CLE hours on trust account and law office management, it did note that nothing in the complaint or conditional agreement suggests that any client funds were lost due to Goldberg’s misconduct.

Kjell P. Engebretsen of Boone County has been suspended from the practice of law for noncooperation with the disciplinary commission. The suspension, provided in an order filed Sept. 2, 2011, was effective immediately. Pursuant to Admission and Discipline Rule 23(10)(f)(3), the suspension will continue until: (1) the executive secretary of the disciplinary commission certifies to the court that Freeman has cooperated fully with the investigation; (2) the investigation or any disciplinary proceedings arising from the investigation are disposed of; or (3) until further order of the court, provided no other suspensions are in effect. Engebretsen was already under a suspension order that became effective March 19, 2011.

Edward A. B. Castaldo of Hamilton County has been suspended from the practice of law for a period of not less than 90 days, effective immediately. The suspension, provided in a Supreme Court order filed Sept. 2, 2011, revoked Castaldo’s probation ordered by the court in 2009 and imposed suspension that had been stayed pending the lawyer’s completion of a 24-month probationary period with specified requirements. According to the Sept. 2 order, Castaldo materially violated the terms of the JLAP monitoring agreement and failed to attend a trust account management course, as previously ordered. He was already under a suspension order that became effective June 20, 2011.

Public reprimand
Danny L. Whitten and Stacey E. Whitten of Porter County received a public reprimand in a Supreme Court order filed Aug. 19, 2011. Both published an advertisement promoting themselves as “specializing in bankruptcy relief” when neither had been certified as a specialist by an independent certifying organization accredited by the Indiana Commission for Continuing Legal Education. This was in violation of Indiana Professional Conduct Rule 7.4(d) (formerly Rule 7.2(c)(4))•

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  1. From back in the day before secularism got a stranglehold on Hoosier jurists comes this great excerpt via Indiana federal court judge Allan Sharp, dedicated to those many Indiana government attorneys (with whom I have dealt) who count the law as a mere tool, an optional tool that is not to be used when political correctness compels a more acceptable result than merely following the path that the law directs: ALLEN SHARP, District Judge. I. In a scene following a visit by Henry VIII to the home of Sir Thomas More, playwriter Robert Bolt puts the following words into the mouths of his characters: Margaret: Father, that man's bad. MORE: There is no law against that. ROPER: There is! God's law! MORE: Then God can arrest him. ROPER: Sophistication upon sophistication! MORE: No, sheer simplicity. The law, Roper, the law. I know what's legal not what's right. And I'll stick to what's legal. ROPER: Then you set man's law above God's! MORE: No, far below; but let me draw your attention to a fact I'm not God. The currents and eddies of right and wrong, which you find such plain sailing, I can't navigate. I'm no voyager. But in the thickets of law, oh, there I'm a forester. I doubt if there's a man alive who could follow me there, thank God... ALICE: (Exasperated, pointing after Rich) While you talk, he's gone! MORE: And go he should, if he was the Devil himself, until he broke the law! ROPER: So now you'd give the Devil benefit of law! MORE: Yes. What would you do? Cut a great road through the law to get after the Devil? ROPER: I'd cut down every law in England to do that! MORE: (Roused and excited) Oh? (Advances on Roper) And when the last law was down, and the Devil turned round on you where would you hide, Roper, the laws being flat? (He leaves *1257 him) This country's planted thick with laws from coast to coast man's laws, not God's and if you cut them down and you're just the man to do it d'you really think you would stand upright in the winds that would blow then? (Quietly) Yes, I'd give the Devil benefit of law, for my own safety's sake. ROPER: I have long suspected this; this is the golden calf; the law's your god. MORE: (Wearily) Oh, Roper, you're a fool, God's my god... (Rather bitterly) But I find him rather too (Very bitterly) subtle... I don't know where he is nor what he wants. ROPER: My God wants service, to the end and unremitting; nothing else! MORE: (Dryly) Are you sure that's God! He sounds like Moloch. But indeed it may be God And whoever hunts for me, Roper, God or Devil, will find me hiding in the thickets of the law! And I'll hide my daughter with me! Not hoist her up the mainmast of your seagoing principles! They put about too nimbly! (Exit More. They all look after him). Pgs. 65-67, A MAN FOR ALL SEASONS A Play in Two Acts, Robert Bolt, Random House, New York, 1960. Linley E. Pearson, Atty. Gen. of Indiana, Indianapolis, for defendants. Childs v. Duckworth, 509 F. Supp. 1254, 1256 (N.D. Ind. 1981) aff'd, 705 F.2d 915 (7th Cir. 1983)

  2. "Meanwhile small- and mid-size firms are getting squeezed and likely will not survive unless they become a boutique firm." I've been a business attorney in small, and now mid-size firm for over 30 years, and for over 30 years legal consultants have been preaching this exact same mantra of impending doom for small and mid-sized firms -- verbatim. This claim apparently helps them gin up merger opportunities from smaller firms who become convinced that they need to become larger overnight. The claim that large corporations are interested in cost-saving and efficiency has likewise been preached for decades, and is likewise bunk. If large corporations had any real interest in saving money they wouldn't use large law firms whose rates are substantially higher than those of high-quality mid-sized firms.

  3. The family is the foundation of all human government. That is the Grand Design. Modern governments throw off this Design and make bureaucratic war against the family, as does Hollywood and cultural elitists such as third wave feminists. Since WWII we have been on a ship of fools that way, with both the elite and government and their social engineering hacks relentlessly attacking the very foundation of social order. And their success? See it in the streets of Fergusson, on the food stamp doles (mostly broken families)and in the above article. Reject the Grand Design for true social function, enter the Glorious State to manage social dysfunction. Our Brave New World will be a prison camp, and we will welcome it as the only way to manage given the anarchy without it.

  4. When I hear 'Juvenile Lawyer' I think of an attorney helping a high school aged kid through the court system for a poor decision; like smashing mailboxes. Thank you for opening up my eyes to the bigger picture of the need for juvenile attorneys. It made me sad, but also fascinated, when it was explained, in the sixth paragraph, that parents making poor decisions (such as drug abuse) can cause situations where children need legal representation and aid from a lawyer.

  5. Some in the Hoosier legal elite consider this prayer recommended by the AG seditious, not to mention the Saint who pledged loyalty to God over King and went to the axe for so doing: "Thomas More, counselor of law and statesman of integrity, merry martyr and most human of saints: Pray that, for the glory of God and in the pursuit of His justice, I may be trustworthy with confidences, keen in study, accurate in analysis, correct in conclusion, able in argument, loyal to clients, honest with all, courteous to adversaries, ever attentive to conscience. Sit with me at my desk and listen with me to my clients' tales. Read with me in my library and stand always beside me so that today I shall not, to win a point, lose my soul. Pray that my family may find in me what yours found in you: friendship and courage, cheerfulness and charity, diligence in duties, counsel in adversity, patience in pain—their good servant, and God's first. Amen."

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