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Justices fine Bloomington lawyer, suspend Indy attorney

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The Indiana Supreme Court has fined a Monroe County attorney for practicing law while suspended. This week, the justices also suspended an Indianapolis attorney who pleaded guilty to felony wire fraud.

The justices Monday found Bloomington attorney David E. Schalk in contempt. Schalk was suspended in May 2013 for at least nine months. He was convicted of Class A attempted possession of marijuana after trying to set up a drug buy in 2007 with state witnesses in his client’s trial for dealing in methamphetamine. Schalk wanted to prove a witness was still dealing drugs.

The Indiana Court of Appeals upheld his conviction in February 2011.

The Disciplinary Commission asserted in September 2013 that Schalk violated the suspension order by, among other things, representing two people in a guardianship proceeding. Schalk denied any misconduct.

Schalk worked on the matter before his suspension. Afterward, he filed documents in July and September 2013 purportedly as a pro se, pro bono litigant acting on behalf of the ward. He provided his attorney number under his signature line on the filings, did not withdraw his appearance on behalf of his clients, and he asserted he was acting on behalf of someone other than himself, the order notes.

For violating the suspension order, the justices imposed a $500 fine which must be paid within 60 days from Jan. 27.

On Monday, the justices also issued an order immediately suspending Indianapolis attorney Paul J. Page’s law license. Page, of Pittman & Page, pleaded guilty in 2013 to one count of wire fraud in U.S. District Court in the Northern District of Indiana. He agreed to testify if called against co-defendants John M. Bales, a real estate broker, and Bales partner William E. Spencer in a Northern District case.

A 14-count indictment in South Bend alleged Page, Bales and Spencer defrauded the state and a bank over their purchase of a building in Elkhart and a subsequent lease deal with the state's Department of Child Services. A jury found Bales and Spencer not guilty.

Page was sentenced to two years probation and ordered to pay a $10,000 fine for concealing the source of a $362,000 down payment on his purchase of the state-leased office building in Elkhart.

Page, also a developer, filed personal bankruptcy earlier this month.

Because of the felony conviction, the Disciplinary Commission asked the justices to enter the interim suspension. It shall continue until further order of the court or final resolution of any resulting disciplinary action.

Justice Mark Massa did not participate in the disciplinary order.

 

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  3. The practitioners and judges who hail E-filing as the Saviour of the West need to contain their respective excitements. E-filing is federal court requires the practitioner to cram his motion practice into pigeonholes created by IT people. Compound motions or those seeking alternative relief are effectively barred, unless the practitioner wants to receive a tart note from some functionary admonishing about the "problem". E-filing is just another method by which courts and judges transfer their burden to practitioners, who are the really the only powerless components of the system. Of COURSE it is easier for the court to require all of its imput to conform to certain formats, but this imposition does NOT improve the quality of the practice of law and does NOT improve the ability of the practitioner to advocate for his client or to fashion pleadings that exactly conform to his client's best interests. And we should be very wary of the disingenuous pablum about the costs. The courts will find a way to stick it to the practitioner. Lake County is a VERY good example of this rapaciousness. Any one who does not believe this is invited to review the various special fees that system imposes upon practitioners- as practitioners- and upon each case ON TOP of the court costs normal in every case manually filed. Jurisprudence according to Aldous Huxley.

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