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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. This sure is not what most who value good governance consider the Rule of Law to entail: "In a letter dated March 2, which Brizzi forwarded to IBJ, the commission dismissed the grievance “on grounds that there is not reasonable cause to believe that you are guilty of misconduct.”" Yet two month later reasonable cause does exist? (Or is the commission forging ahead, the need for reasonable belief be damned? -- A seeming violation of the Rules of Profession Ethics on the part of the commission) Could the rule of law theory cause one to believe that an explanation is in order? Could it be that Hoosier attorneys live under Imperial Law (which is also a t-word that rhymes with infamy) in which the Platonic guardians can do no wrong and never owe the plebeian class any explanation for their powerful actions. (Might makes it right?) Could this be a case of politics directing the commission, as celebrated IU Mauer Professor (the late) Patrick Baude warned was happening 20 years ago in his controversial (whisteblowing) ethics lecture on a quite similar topic: http://www.repository.law.indiana.edu/cgi/viewcontent.cgi?article=1498&context=ilj

  2. I have a case presently pending cert review before the SCOTUS that reveals just how Indiana regulates the bar. I have been denied licensure for life for holding the wrong views and questioning the grand inquisitors as to their duties as to state and federal constitutional due process. True story: https://www.scribd.com/doc/299040839/2016Petitionforcert-to-SCOTUS Shorter, Amici brief serving to frame issue as misuse of govt licensure: https://www.scribd.com/doc/312841269/Thomas-More-Society-Amicus-Brown-v-Ind-Bd-of-Law-Examiners

  3. Here's an idea...how about we MORE heavily regulate the law schools to reduce the surplus of graduates, driving starting salaries up for those new grads, so that we can all pay our insane amount of student loans off in a reasonable amount of time and then be able to afford to do pro bono & low-fee work? I've got friends in other industries, radiology for example, and their schools accept a very limited number of students so there will never be a glut of new grads and everyone's pay stays high. For example, my radiologist friend's school accepted just six new students per year.

  4. I totally agree with John Smith.

  5. An idea that would harm the public good which is protected by licensing. Might as well abolish doctor and health care professions licensing too. Ridiculous. Unrealistic. Would open the floodgates of mischief and abuse. Even veteranarians are licensed. How has deregulation served the public good in banking, for example? Enough ideology already!

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