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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. Hail to our Constitutional Law Expert in the Executive Office! “What you’re not paying attention to is the fact that I just took an action to change the law,” Obama said.

  2. What is this, the Ind Supreme Court thinking that there is a separation of powers and limited enumerated powers as delegated by a dusty old document? Such eighteen century thinking, so rare and unwanted by the elites in this modern age. Dictate to us, dictate over us, the massess are chanting! George Soros agrees. Time to change with times Ind Supreme Court, says all President Snows. Rule by executive decree is the new black.

  3. I made the same argument before a commission of the Indiana Supreme Court and then to the fedeal district and federal appellate courts. Fell flat. So very glad to read that some judges still beleive that evidentiary foundations matter.

  4. KUDOS to the Indiana Supreme Court for realizing that some bureacracies need to go to the stake. Recall what RWR said: "No government ever voluntarily reduces itself in size. Government programs, once launched, never disappear. Actually, a government bureau is the nearest thing to eternal life we'll ever see on this earth!" NOW ... what next to this rare and inspiring chopping block? Well, the Commission on Gender and Race (but not religion!?!) is way overdue. And some other Board's could be cut with a positive for State and the reputation of the Indiana judiciary.

  5. During a visit where an informant with police wears audio and video, does the video necessary have to show hand to hand transaction of money and narcotics?

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