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LaPorte County prosecutor suspended by Supreme Court

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LaPorte County Prosecutor Bob “Z” Szilagyi has been suspended by the Indiana Supreme Court for forging the names of his ex-wife and secretary on a quitclaim deed on the former couple’s marital home.

The June 20 order says that Szilagyi, who became the prosecuting attorney in December 2010, sought to refinance the home, which he was awarded in his 2009 divorce. After the divorce, his ex-wife had her name restored to her name prior to the marriage. Szilagyi’s secretary prepared a quitclaim deed for the ex-wife to sign using her restored name instead of the married name as was on the title. The ex-wife signed it without it being notarized.

The day of closing, Szilagyi saw his ex-wife had signed her restored name, so he asked his secretary to prepare a new deed. He then signed without their knowledge his ex-wife’s married name and his secretary’s name as the notary, using her notary stamp. His secretary was investigated by the Indiana secretary of state as a result of the notarization.

According to the order, Szilagyi forged the signatures to avoid “an unpleasant conversation” with his former wife explaining that he needed her help. The parties also cited that Szilagyi – who has been practicing for more than 30 years – should have known how his actions can impugn the reputation of lawyers and the legal community.

The justices found Szilagyi violated Indiana Professional Conduct Rules 8.4(c), engaging in conduct involving dishonesty, fraud, deceit or misrepresentation; and 8.4(d), engaging in conduct prejudicial to the administration of justice.

Szilagyi has no disciplinary history and is remorseful and accepted responsibility for his conduct.

The justices imposed a 60-day suspension, which begins Aug. 1, with automatic reinstatement. Costs of the proceeding are assessed against him.

Before becoming prosecutor, Szilagyi had a private practice in LaPorte County and also served as eight years as city attorney for LaPorte.
 

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  1. Where may I find an attorney working Pro Bono? Many issues with divorce, my Disability, distribution of IRA's, property, money's and pressured into agreement by my attorney. Leaving me far less than 5% of all after 15 years of marriage. No money to appeal, disabled living on disability income. Attorney's decision brought forward to judge, no evidence ever to finalize divorce. Just 2 weeks ago. Please help.

  2. For the record no one could answer the equal protection / substantive due process challenge I issued in the first post below. The lawless and accountable only to power bureaucrats never did either. All who interface with the Indiana law examiners or JLAP be warned.

  3. Hi there I really need help with getting my old divorce case back into court - I am still paying support on a 24 year old who has not been in school since age 16 - now living independent. My visitation with my 14 year old has never been modified; however, when convenient for her I can have him... I am paying past balance from over due support, yet earn several thousand dollars less. I would contact my original attorney but he basically molest me multiple times in Indy when I would visit.. Todd Woodmansee - I had just came out and had know idea what to do... I have heard he no longer practices. Please help1

  4. Yes diversity is so very important. With justice Rucker off ... the court is too white. Still too male. No Hispanic justice. No LGBT justice. And there are other checkboxes missing as well. This will not do. I say hold the seat until a physically handicapped Black Lesbian of Hispanic heritage and eastern religious creed with bipolar issues can be located. Perhaps an international search, with a preference for third world candidates, is indicated. A non English speaker would surely increase our diversity quotient!!!

  5. First, I want to thank Justice Rucker for his many years of public service, not just at the appellate court level for over 25 years, but also when he served the people of Lake County as a Deputy Prosecutor, City Attorney for Gary, IN, and in private practice in a smaller, highly diverse community with a history of serious economic challenges, ethnic tensions, and recently publicized but apparently long-standing environmental health risks to some of its poorest residents. Congratulations for having the dedication & courage to practice law in areas many in our state might have considered too dangerous or too poor at different points in time. It was also courageous to step into a prominent and highly visible position of public service & respect in the early 1990's, remaining in a position that left you open to state-wide public scrutiny (without any glitches) for over 25 years. Yes, Hoosiers of all backgrounds can take pride in your many years of public service. But people of color who watched your ascent to the highest levels of state government no doubt felt even more as you transcended some real & perhaps some perceived social, economic, academic and professional barriers. You were living proof that, with hard work, dedication & a spirit of public service, a person who shared their same skin tone or came from the same county they grew up in could achieve great success. At the same time, perhaps unknowingly, you helped fellow members of the judiciary, court staff, litigants and the public better understand that differences that are only skin-deep neither define nor limit a person's character, abilities or prospects in life. You also helped others appreciate that people of different races & backgrounds can live and work together peacefully & productively for the greater good of all. Those are truths that didn't have to be written down in court opinions. Anyone paying attention could see that truth lived out every day you devoted to public service. I believe you have been a "trailblazer" in Indiana's legal community and its judiciary. I also embrace your belief that society's needs can be better served when people in positions of governmental power reflect the many complexions of the population that they serve. Whether through greater understanding across the existing racial spectrum or through the removal of some real and some perceived color-based, hope-crushing barriers to life opportunities & success, movement toward a more reflective representation of the population being governed will lead to greater and uninterrupted respect for laws designed to protect all peoples' rights to life, liberty & the pursuit of happiness. Thanks again for a job well-done & for the inevitable positive impact your service has had - and will continue to have - on countless Hoosiers of all backgrounds & colors.

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