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Lawyer resigns over adding fee requirement to plea deal

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An Indianapolis attorney who ran for elected office multiple times has resigned from the bar rather than face a disciplinary charge that he added a demand for a fee to a client’s proposed criminal plea agreement.

The Indiana Supreme Court issued an order May 8 accepting the resignation of Todd Woodmansee and concluding his discipline case, 49S00-1305-DI-347. The order says Woodmansee tendered a resignation that requires “acknowledgement that the material facts alleged are true” and that Woodmansee couldn’t successfully defend himself if prosecuted by the Disciplinary Commission.

Woodmansee represented Joshua Griffin, who was charged with Class D felony domestic battery and numerous misdemeanors. Woodmansee agreed to take the case on a $1,000 flat fee according to the verified petition, but upon later learning that Griffin was on probation for an earlier similar conviction, the attorney agreed to represent him on that matter for an additional $750.

Some time later, a deputy prosecutor emailed Woodmansee a proposed plea bargain that included a clause reading, “Defendant agrees guilty plea herein is a violation of defendants’ probation … therefore, probation is hereby revoked under that cause and terminated unsuccessfully, case closed.”

But the petition in Woodmansee’s disciplinary case alleged that he forwarded the agreement to Griffin in an email, adding these words at the end of the clause: “upon defendant paying costs of $750 through his attorney to the probation department.”

“The term of the $750 payment to probation was not in the original plea agreement sent from the prosecutor and was not intended to go toward any probation costs,” the petition reads. “Instead, (Woodmansee) added this term as a pretense to obtain the additional $750 that his client had originally stated he would pay.”

Griffin pleaded guilty to two misdemeanors and was sentenced to time served and an additional 319 days of probation.

Woodmansee had filed for the Democratic Party’s nomination for Superior Court judge in last week’s primary, but he withdrew from the race in January. He previously ran for City-County Council in 2011 and Warren Township Small Claims Court judge in 2009, according to the Marion County Clerk’s Office.

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  1. A sad end to a prolific gadfly. Indiana has suffered a great loss in the journalistic realm.

  2. Good riddance to this dangerous activist judge

  3. What is the one thing the Hoosier legal status quo hates more than a whistleblower? A lawyer whistleblower taking on the system man to man. That must never be rewarded, must always, always, always be punished, lest the whole rotten tree be felled.

  4. I want to post this to keep this tread alive and hope more of David's former clients might come forward. In my case, this coward of a man represented me from June 2014 for a couple of months before I fired him. I knew something was wrong when he blatantly lied about what he had advised me in my contentious and unfortunate divorce trial. His impact on the proceedings cast a very long shadow and continues to impact me after a lengthy 19 month divorce. I would join a class action suit.

  5. The dispute in LB Indiana regarding lake front property rights is typical of most beach communities along our Great Lakes. Simply put, communication to non owners when visiting the lakefront would be beneficial. The Great Lakes are designated navigational waters (including shorelines). The high-water mark signifies the area one is able to navigate. This means you can walk, run, skip, etc. along the shores. You can't however loiter, camp, sunbath in front of someones property. Informational signs may be helpful to owners and visitors. Our Great Lakes are a treasure that should be enjoyed by all. PS We should all be concerned that the Long Beach, Indiana community is on septic systems.

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