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Disciplinary Actions - 9/15/10

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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.

Suspension
Derrick D. Eley of Marion County has had his suspension from the practice of law in Indiana converted to an indefinite suspension because of his continued noncooperation with the disciplinary commission, according to an Aug. 27, 2010, Supreme Court order. He was originally suspended Jan. 7, 2010, for failing to cooperating with the commission regarding a grievance filed against him.

Public reprimand
Richard N. Shapiro of Lake County was publicly reprimanded for violating Ind. Prof. Cond. R. 8.4(e), according to an Aug. 27, 2010, Supreme Court order approving statement of circumstances and conditional agreement for discipline.

A client hired Shapiro to represent him in an employment dispute. Shapiro sent a letter to the client’s former employer demanding payment of $70,000 under the Indiana Wage Claim Act. In the letter, Shapiro stated that the act was enforced by the Office of the Attorney General, that Shapiro had attended high school with the former attorney general, and that Shapiro therefore did not think he would have much problem in getting his successor’s attention in the matter. Shapiro was cooperative with the Disciplinary Commission, and he has no disciplinary history.

Private reprimand
In the Matter of Anonymous of Clark County, respondent is privately reprimanded for violating Ind. Prof. Cond. R. 5.5(a) for assisting in the unauthorized practice of law in this state, according to a Sept. 3, 2010, Supreme Court per curiam opinion.

Respondent agreed to serve as local counsel for Kentucky attorney John Redelberger who represented an Indiana client. Redelberger did not seek temporary admission to practice law in Indiana, and he and respondent signed and filed an appearance for the client in an action filed in an Indiana trial court. Without respondent, Redelberger signed and served answers to interrogatories and took depositions of witnesses in Indiana.

After Redelberger appeared in court for the client, the judge told respondent that Redelberger wasn’t admitted to practice in this state. Respondent told Redelberger that he must seek temporary admission and sent him a copy of the applicable rule. Neither respondent nor Redelberger followed through in obtaining temporary admission for Redelberger.

There were no aggravating factors. Mitigating facts were respondent had no prior discipline, he cooperated with the disciplinary commission, he did not act from a selfish or dishonest motive, and he is remorseful.

“The participation of Indiana co-counsel in the temporary admission process is of vital importance to this Court’s ability to supervise out-of-state attorneys practicing in this state. This is no minor or perfunctory duty. Not all attorneys seeking temporary admission will be granted the privilege of practicing in Indiana,” the high court wrote.

The court called respondent’s response “inadequate” once he learned Redelberger wasn’t admitted to practice in Indiana.

The Supreme Court noted that Indiana attorneys serving as local counsel for out-of-state attorneys are “advised of the importance of their duty to ensure complete and timely compliance with all the requirements of Admission and Discipline Rule 3(2).”

Reinstatement
Thadd E. Evans of Blackford County has been reinstated to the practice of law in Indiana, according to an Aug. 27, 2010, Supreme Court order.

All justices concurred except Justice Dickson, who dissented to granting the reinstatement.

Lester H. Cohen of Reno, Nev., has been reinstated to practice to law in Indiana on the condition that he fully cure his continuing legal education noncompliance as well as meet his 2010 CLE obligations no later than Dec. 31, 2010, according to an Aug. 27, 2010, Supreme Court order.

Cohen was suspended May 14, 2010, along with several other attorneys who failed to comply with CLE requirements.

Cohen said the noncompliance was caused by health problems and tendered a $200 reinstatement fee as required by Admis. and Disc. R. 29, Sec. 10(b).

Resignation
Willie Harris of Lake County has resigned from the Indiana bar, effective with the Sept. 3, 2010, Supreme Court order accepting his resignation. Any attorney disciplinary proceedings pending against Harris are dismissed as moot. He shall be ineligible to petition for reinstatement to the practice of law for five years.•
 

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  1. 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!

  2. 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.

  3. 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.

  4. 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 ...

  5. "...not those committed in the heat of an argument." If I ever see a man physically abusing a woman or a child and I'm close enough to intercede I will not ask him why he is abusing her/him. I will give him a split second to cease his attack and put his hands in the air while I call the police. If he continues, I will still call the police but to report, "Man down with a gunshot wound,"instead.

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