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. Unlike the federal judge who refused to protect me, the Virginia State Bar gave me a hearing. After the hearing, the Virginia State Bar refused to discipline me. VSB said that attacking me with the court ADA coordinator had, " all the grace and charm of a drive-by shooting." One does wonder why the VSB was able to have a hearing and come to that conclusion, but the federal judge in Indiana slammed the door of the courthouse in my face.

  2. I agree. My husband has almost the exact same situation. Age states and all.

  3. Thanks Jim. We surprised ourselves with the first album, so we did a second one. We are releasing it 6/30/17 at the HiFi. The reviews so far are amazing! Skope Mag: It’s Just Craig offers a warm intimacy with the tender folk of “Dark Corners”. Rather lovely in execution, It’s Just Craig opts for a full, rich sound. Quite ornate instrumentally, the songs unfurl with such grace and style. Everything about the album feels real and fully lived. By far the highlight of the album are the soft smooth reassuring vocals whose highly articulate lyrics have a dreamy quality to them. Stories emerge out of these small snapshots of reflective moments.... A wide variety of styles are utilized, with folk anchoring it but allowing for chamber pop, soundtrack work, and found electronics filtering their way into the mix. Without a word, It’s Just Craig sets the tone of the album with the warble of “Intro”. From there things get truly started with the hush of “Go”. Building up into a great structure, “Go” has a kindness to it. Organs glisten in the distance on the fragile textures of “Alone” whose light melody adds to the song’s gorgeousness. A wonderful bloom of color defines the spaciousness of “Captain”. Infectious grooves take hold on the otherworldly origins of “Goodnight” with precise drum work giving the song a jazzy feeling. Hazy to its very core is the tragedy of “Leaving Now”. By far the highlight of the album comes with the closing impassioned “Thirty-Nine” where many layers of sound work together possessing a poetic quality.

  4. Andrew, if what you report is true, then it certainly is newsworthy. If what you report is false, then it certainly is newsworthy. Any journalists reading along??? And that same Coordinator blew me up real good as well, even destroying evidence to get the ordered wetwork done. There is a story here, if any have the moxie to go for it. Search ADA here for just some of my experiences with the court's junk yard dog. Yep, drive by shootings. The lawyers of the Old Dominion got that right. Career executions lacking any real semblance of due process. It is the ISC way ... under the bad shepard's leadership ... and a compliant, silent, boot-licking fifth estate.

  5. Journalism may just be asleep. I pray this editorial is more than just a passing toss and turn. Indiana's old boy system of ruling over attorneys is cultish. Unmask them oh guardians of democracy.