Supreme Court disciplines attorneys for noncompliance

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Two Indiana attorneys are facing disciplinary measures after failing to comply with various court orders.

The Indiana Supreme Court ordered disciplinary actions against Ralph Staples, an Indianapolis attorney, and Donald James, a Fort Wayne attorney, on Friday.

Staples’ discipline, a public reprimand, traces back to February 2013, when he appeared as successor counsel for a criminal defendant but failed to appear for a pretrial conference and did not timely respond to the court’s inquiries about his absence. Then, when Staples’ client was hospitalized in July 2013, the attorney was ordered to file a motion to continue with verification that his client was in the hospital, but failed to do so and also failed to appear at the ensuing show cause proceedings.

Staples was eventually found to be in contempt, but did not appear for a sanctions hearing.  He also failed again to appear at a hearing with his client, so the court found him in contempt a second time. When the Indiana Supreme Court Disciplinary Commission demanded either a response from Staples or his compliance with a subpoena duces tecum, the attorney did not timely respond, resulting in two show cause proceedings that were eventually dismissed with costs when Staples eventually cooperated.

Staples was placed on probation, and in a Conditional Agreement for Discipline, the parties agreed that the attorney violated Indiana Rules of Professional Conduct 3.2, 3.4(c) and 8.1(b) and Indiana Admission and Discipline Rule 23(10)(e). The Supreme Court imposed a public reprimand against Staples and assessed the costs of the proceedings against him.

The justices chose to suspend James from the practice of law in Indiana effective Friday following his failure to respond to a September 2016 show cause order related to two separate disciplinary cases.  The court issued the order to show cause as to why James should not be suspended after he failed to cooperate with the commission’s investigation into two grievances filed against him.  The commission also filed a Request for Ruling and to Tax Costs, to which James has also not responded.

The state’s high court ordered James’ license be suspended, effective immediately.  The suspension in each case will continue until James cooperates with the commission’s investigation or until further order of the Supreme Court. The Fort Wayne attorney was also ordered to reimburse the commission $525.88 for the costs of prosecuting the first case against him, but the court did not order reimbursement of the costs of the second case.

The full order against James can be read here


  • Here is the rot
    OK, take notice. Those wondering just how corrupt the Indiana system is can see the picture in this post. Attorney Donald James did not criticize any judges, he merely, it would seem, caused some clients to file against him and then ignored his own defense. James thus disrespected the system via ignoring all and was also ordered to reimburse the commission $525.88 for the costs of prosecuting the first case against him. Yes, nearly $526 for all the costs, the state having proved it all. Ouch, right? Now consider whistleblower and constitutionalist and citizen journalist Paul Ogden who criticized a judge, defended himself in such a professional fashion as to have half the case against him thrown out by the ISC and was then handed a career ending $10,000 bill as "half the costs" of the state crucifying him. THE TAKEAWAY MESSAGE for any who have ears to hear ... resist Star Chamber and pay with your career ... welcome to the Indiana system of (cough) justice.

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  1. My husband financed a car through Wells Fargo In dec 2007 and in Jan 2012 they took him to court to garnish his wages through a company called autovest llc . Do u think the statue of limitations apply from the day last payment was received or from what should have been the completion of the loan

  2. Andrew, you are a whistleblower against an ideologically corrupt system that is also an old boys network ... Including old gals .... You are a huge threat to them. Thieves, liars, miscreants they understand, identify with, coddle. But whistleblowers must go to the stake. Burn well my friend, burn brightly, tyger.

  3. VSB dismissed the reciprocal discipline based on what Indiana did to me. Here we have an attorney actually breaking ethical rules, dishonest behavior, and only getting a reprimand. I advocated that this supreme court stop discriminating against me and others based on disability, and I am SUSPENDED 180 days. Time to take out the checkbook and stop the arrogant cheating to hurt me and retaliate against my good faith efforts to stop the discrimination of this Court.

  4. If another state believes by "Clear and convincing evidence" standard that Indiana's discipline was not valid and dismissed it, it is time for Curtis Hill to advise his clients to get out the checkbook. Discrimination time is over.

  5. Congrats Andrew, your street cred just shot up. As for me ... I am now an administrative law judge in Kansas, commissioned by the Governor to enforce due process rights against overreaching government agents. That after being banished for life from the Indiana bar for attempting to do the same as a mere whistleblowing bar applicant. The myth of one lowly peasant with the constitution does not play well in the Hoosier state. As for what our experiences have in common, I have good reason to believe that the same ADA Coordinator who took you out was working my file since 2007, when the former chief justice hired the same, likely to "take out the politically incorrect trash" like me. My own dealings with that powerful bureaucrat and some rather astounding actions .. actions that would make most state courts blush ... actions blessed in full by the Ind.S.Ct ... here: