Discipline inconsistencies

September 21, 2010
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An Indiana attorney’s discipline case is making national news to show the disparity in discipline around the country involving substance abuse.

The National Law Journal’s Sept. 20 article on discipline for substance-abusing attorneys compares the case of Peter Katic – a northern Indiana attorney who appeared in court drunk, and in a separate matter pleaded guilty to Class C misdemeanor OWI – to cases involving attorneys from Florida, Iowa, and New Hampshire.

Katic, who had two prior disciplinary actions while he was a judge, was suspended for 180 days but that suspension was stayed to probation as long as he meets all the requirements of his monitoring agreement with the Judges and Lawyers Assistance Program.

The New Hampshire attorney, who admitted he was an alcoholic, was disbarred after taking a case that he failed to pursue. He also hid from his client that the case had been dismissed. The Iowa attorney, who also described himself as an alcohol abuser, took a client’s money and abandoned a divorce case. His license was suspended. The Florida attorney was disbarred after he pleaded guilty to a 2004 drug-trafficking charge. The attorney had been drug and alcohol free for six years at that point.

A case could be made based on these examples for more transparency and uniformity across the country in discipline cases. This could also be said for our state.

What are your thoughts on discipline here and around the country? Are we too tough or lenient on our attorneys and should we have more uniform discipline?

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  • Apples and Oranges
    It strikes me that your are comparing apples and oranges. The charges against the Iowa, Florida, and New Hampshire attorneys went beyond substance abuse and seem much more serious than the charge against the Indiana lawyer. These examples do not prove that Indiana is too lenient.

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  1. I need an experienced attorney to handle a breach of contract matter. Kindly respond for more details. Graham Young

  2. I thought the slurs were the least grave aspects of her misconduct, since they had nothing to do with her being on the bench. Why then do I suspect they were the focus? I find this a troubling trend. At least she was allowed to keep her law license.

  3. Section 6 of Article I of the Indiana Constitution is pretty clear and unequivocal: "Section 6. No money shall be drawn from the treasury for the benefit of any religious or theological institution."

  4. Video pen? Nice work, "JW"! Let this be a lesson and a caution to all disgruntled ex-spouses (or soon-to-be ex-spouses) . . . you may think that altercation is going to get you some satisfaction . . . it will not.

  5. First comment on this thread is a fitting final comment on this thread, as that the MCBA never answered Duncan's fine question, and now even Eric Holder agrees that the MCBA was in material error as to the facts: "I don't get it" from Duncan December 1, 2014 5:10 PM "The Grand Jury met for 25 days and heard 70 hours of testimony according to this article and they made a decision that no crime occurred. On what basis does the MCBA conclude that their decision was "unjust"? What special knowledge or evidence does the MCBA have that the Grand Jury hearing this matter was unaware of? The system that we as lawyers are sworn to uphold made a decision that there was insufficient proof that officer committed a crime. How can any of us say we know better what was right than the jury that actually heard all of the the evidence in this case."

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