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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  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.

  4. Any attorneys who practice in federal court should be able to say the same as I can ... efiling is great. I have been doing it in fed court since it started way back. Pacer has its drawbacks, but the ability to hit an e-docket and pull up anything and everything onscreen is a huge plus for a litigator, eps the sole practitioner, who lacks a filing clerk and the paralegal support of large firms. Were I an Indiana attorney I would welcome this great step forward.

  5. Can we get full disclosure on lobbyist's payments to legislatures such as Mr Buck? AS long as there are idiots that are disrespectful of neighbors and intent on shooting fireworks every night, some kind of regulations are needed.

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