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Lawyer privately reprimanded for hiring inmate

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The Indiana Supreme Court handed down a private reprimand to a Shelby County attorney who engaged in misconduct by hiring a nonlawyer inmate to help research and prepare a post-conviction relief petition for another client.

The attorney had been assigned by the State Public Defender as an independent contractor in 1998 to represent an incarcerated client in a PCR proceeding. That client consented to the attorney entering into an agreement with a nonlawyer inmate in the same facility to help with the PCR petition as an independent legal assistant. The attorney agreed to represent the nonlawyer inmate in his own PCR proceeding.

The nonlawyer inmate had limited access to communication and research materials and no expectation of privacy. The attorney wasn’t able to supervise the inmate or ensure he would be able to comply with the Rules of Professional Conduct.

Even though the events took place more than 10 years ago, a verified complaint wasn’t filed until 2008.

The justices found in a per curiam opinion, In the matter of: Anonymous, No. 73S00-0812-DI-626, that the attorney violated Professional Conduct Rule 5.3. The Disciplinary Commission and attorney submitted a conditional agreement for discipline suggesting a private reprimand. The justices agreed to the discipline, but noted that it would impose more severe discipline if there wasn’t an agreement.

The justices also took into account that the misconduct happened more than 10 years ago and that the attorney’s record in nearly 30 years of practice is otherwise unblemished.
 

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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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