ILNews

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. CCHP's real accomplishment is the 2015 law signed by Gov Pence that basically outlaws any annexation that is forced where a 65% majority of landowners in the affected area disagree. Regardless of whether HP wins or loses, the citizens of Indiana will not have another fiasco like this. The law Gov Pence signed is a direct result of this malgovernance.

  2. I gave tempparry guardship to a friend of my granddaughter in 2012. I went to prison. I had custody. My daughter went to prison to. We are out. My daughter gave me custody but can get her back. She was not order to give me custody . but now we want granddaughter back from friend. She's 14 now. What rights do we have

  3. This sure is not what most who value good governance consider the Rule of Law to entail: "In a letter dated March 2, which Brizzi forwarded to IBJ, the commission dismissed the grievance “on grounds that there is not reasonable cause to believe that you are guilty of misconduct.”" Yet two month later reasonable cause does exist? (Or is the commission forging ahead, the need for reasonable belief be damned? -- A seeming violation of the Rules of Profession Ethics on the part of the commission) Could the rule of law theory cause one to believe that an explanation is in order? Could it be that Hoosier attorneys live under Imperial Law (which is also a t-word that rhymes with infamy) in which the Platonic guardians can do no wrong and never owe the plebeian class any explanation for their powerful actions. (Might makes it right?) Could this be a case of politics directing the commission, as celebrated IU Mauer Professor (the late) Patrick Baude warned was happening 20 years ago in his controversial (whisteblowing) ethics lecture on a quite similar topic: http://www.repository.law.indiana.edu/cgi/viewcontent.cgi?article=1498&context=ilj

  4. I have a case presently pending cert review before the SCOTUS that reveals just how Indiana regulates the bar. I have been denied licensure for life for holding the wrong views and questioning the grand inquisitors as to their duties as to state and federal constitutional due process. True story: https://www.scribd.com/doc/299040839/2016Petitionforcert-to-SCOTUS Shorter, Amici brief serving to frame issue as misuse of govt licensure: https://www.scribd.com/doc/312841269/Thomas-More-Society-Amicus-Brown-v-Ind-Bd-of-Law-Examiners

  5. Here's an idea...how about we MORE heavily regulate the law schools to reduce the surplus of graduates, driving starting salaries up for those new grads, so that we can all pay our insane amount of student loans off in a reasonable amount of time and then be able to afford to do pro bono & low-fee work? I've got friends in other industries, radiology for example, and their schools accept a very limited number of students so there will never be a glut of new grads and everyone's pay stays high. For example, my radiologist friend's school accepted just six new students per year.

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