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Former senior judge faces disciplinary proceedings

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A former senior judge in northern Indiana faces disciplinary action for charges that she had a sexual relationship with a client to whom she was appointed as a public defender.

Lisa Traylor-Wolff of Logansport was appointed in January 2012 as S.W.’s public defender in a Cass County case in which he was sentenced to 30 years for convictions of robbery and criminal confinement. She represented him during his appeal until his conviction was affirmed by the Indiana Court of Appeals in mid-July 2012.

Between February 2012 and June 2012, Traylor-Wolff “developed a more personal relationship” with S.W., according to the notice of the institution of formal proceedings and statement of charges issued Monday by the Indiana Commission on Judicial Qualifications.

Traylor-Wolff allegedly provided S.W. with art, books and cash, and she completed a Bible study with him before the relationship became sexual. The two kissed on multiple occasions during Traylor-Wolff’s visits with him in the prison’s attorney-client visitations rooms, according to the three counts against her. On a visit in June 2012, correction officers witnessed “excessive fondling with intent to sexually gratify over the clothing.”

The alleged conduct violates Rule 1.8(j) of the Indiana Rules of Professional Conduct and Miami Correctional Facility visitation rules, and S.W. was issued a disciplinary write-up and sanctioned with a loss of jail credit time.

The charges against Traylor-Wolff also accuse her of violating Rule 1.7(a)(2), prohibiting a lawyer from representing a client if there is significant risk that the representation will be materially limited by a personal interest of the lawyer.

Traylor-Wolff was certified as a senior judge at the time of the alleged violations, putting the discipline against her before the Judicial Qualifications Commission, according to Supreme Court Public Information Officer Kathryn Dolan. The former judge also is charged with violating rules of the Code of Judicial Conduct.

Traylor-Wolff had been a senior judge since 2001 and did not seek recertification as a senior judge at the end of 2012, Dolan said. She was admitted to practice in 1986 and is listed as active and in good standing on the Indiana Roll of Attorneys with no prior record of discipline. She served on the bench in Fulton and Pulaski counties in the 1990s until becoming a senior judge.  

Traylor-Wolff has 20 days to file an answer with the Supreme Court, after which three masters may be appointed to conduct a public hearing on the disciplinary charges.
 

 

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  1. You can put your photos anywhere you like... When someone steals it they know it doesn't belong to them. And, a man getting a divorce is automatically not a nice guy...? That's ridiculous. Since when is need of money a conflict of interest? That would mean that no one should have a job unless they are already financially solvent without a job... A photographer is also under no obligation to use a watermark (again, people know when a photo doesn't belong to them) or provide contact information. Hey, he didn't make it easy for me to pay him so I'll just take it! Well heck, might as well walk out of the grocery store with a cart full of food because the lines are too long and you don't find that convenient. "Only in Indiana." Oh, now you're passing judgement on an entire state... What state do you live in? I need to characterize everyone in your state as ignorant and opinionated. And the final bit of ignorance; assuming a photo anyone would want is lucky and then how much does your camera have to cost to make it a good photo, in your obviously relevant opinion?

  2. Seventh Circuit Court Judge Diane Wood has stated in “The Rule of Law in Times of Stress” (2003), “that neither laws nor the procedures used to create or implement them should be secret; and . . . the laws must not be arbitrary.” According to the American Bar Association, Wood’s quote drives home this point: The rule of law also requires that people can expect predictable results from the legal system; this is what Judge Wood implies when she says that “the laws must not be arbitrary.” Predictable results mean that people who act in the same way can expect the law to treat them in the same way. If similar actions do not produce similar legal outcomes, people cannot use the law to guide their actions, and a “rule of law” does not exist.

  3. Linda, I sure hope you are not seeking a law license, for such eighteenth century sentiments could result in your denial in some jurisdictions minting attorneys for our tolerant and inclusive profession.

  4. Mazel Tov to the newlyweds. And to those bakers, photographers, printers, clerks, judges and others who will lose careers and social standing for not saluting the New World (Dis)Order, we can all direct our Two Minutes of Hate as Big Brother asks of us. Progress! Onward!

  5. My daughter was taken from my home at the end of June/2014. I said I would sign the safety plan but my husband would not. My husband said he would leave the house so my daughter could stay with me but the case worker said no her mind is made up she is taking my daughter. My daughter went to a friends and then the friend filed a restraining order which she was told by dcs if she did not then they would take my daughter away from her. The restraining order was not in effect until we were to go to court. Eventually it was dropped but for 2 months DCS refused to allow me to have any contact and was using the restraining order as the reason but it was not in effect. This was Dcs violating my rights. Please help me I don't have the money for an attorney. Can anyone take this case Pro Bono?

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