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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. He TIL team,please zap this comment too since it was merely marking a scammer and not reflecting on the story. Thanks, happy Monday, keep up the fine work.

  2. You just need my social security number sent to your Gmail account to process then loan, right? Beware scammers indeed.

  3. The appellate court just said doctors can be sued for reporting child abuse. The most dangerous form of child abuse with the highest mortality rate of any form of child abuse (between 6% and 9% according to the below listed studies). Now doctors will be far less likely to report this form of dangerous child abuse in Indiana. If you want to know what this is, google the names Lacey Spears, Julie Conley (and look at what happened when uninformed judges returned that child against medical advice), Hope Ybarra, and Dixie Blanchard. Here is some really good reporting on what this allegation was: http://media.star-telegram.com/Munchausenmoms/ Here are the two research papers: http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/0145213487900810 http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0145213403000309 25% of sibling are dead in that second study. 25%!!! Unbelievable ruling. Chilling. Wrong.

  4. Mr. Levin says that the BMV engaged in misconduct--that the BMV (or, rather, someone in the BMV) knew Indiana motorists were being overcharged fees but did nothing to correct the situation. Such misconduct, whether engaged in by one individual or by a group, is called theft (defined as knowingly or intentionally exerting unauthorized control over the property of another person with the intent to deprive the other person of the property's value or use). Theft is a crime in Indiana (as it still is in most of the civilized world). One wonders, then, why there have been no criminal prosecutions of BMV officials for this theft? Government misconduct doesn't occur in a vacuum. An individual who works for or oversees a government agency is responsible for the misconduct. In this instance, somebody (or somebodies) with the BMV, at some time, knew Indiana motorists were being overcharged. What's more, this person (or these people), even after having the error of their ways pointed out to them, did nothing to fix the problem. Instead, the overcharges continued. Thus, the taxpayers of Indiana are also on the hook for the millions of dollars in attorneys fees (for both sides; the BMV didn't see fit to avail itself of the services of a lawyer employed by the state government) that had to be spent in order to finally convince the BMV that stealing money from Indiana motorists was a bad thing. Given that the BMV official(s) responsible for this crime continued their misconduct, covered it up, and never did anything until the agency reached an agreeable settlement, it seems the statute of limitations for prosecuting these folks has not yet run. I hope our Attorney General is paying attention to this fiasco and is seriously considering prosecution. Indiana, the state that works . . . for thieves.

  5. I'm glad that attorney Carl Hayes, who represented the BMV in this case, is able to say that his client "is pleased to have resolved the issue". Everyone makes mistakes, even bureaucratic behemoths like Indiana's BMV. So to some extent we need to be forgiving of such mistakes. But when those mistakes are going to cost Indiana taxpayers millions of dollars to rectify (because neither plaintiff's counsel nor Mr. Hayes gave freely of their services, and the BMV, being a state-funded agency, relies on taxpayer dollars to pay these attorneys their fees), the agency doesn't have a right to feel "pleased to have resolved the issue". One is left wondering why the BMV feels so pleased with this resolution? The magnitude of the agency's overcharges might suggest to some that, perhaps, these errors were more than mere oversight. Could this be why the agency is so "pleased" with this resolution? Will Indiana motorists ever be assured that the culture of incompetence (if not worse) that the BMV seems to have fostered is no longer the status quo? Or will even more "overcharges" and lawsuits result? It's fairly obvious who is really "pleased to have resolved the issue", and it's not Indiana's taxpayers who are on the hook for the legal fees generated in these cases.

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