The Indiana Supreme Court has suspended a Gary attorney who has been the subject of suspension or reprimand three times since 1992.
The court said that while Kevin B. Relphorde was representing a client as a public defender, he accepted a $1,000 payment for his services from the defendant’s father. The court found Relphorde in violation of Indiana Professional Conduct Rule 1.11(d) and ordered that he be suspended for six months, beginning Aug. 5, 2011, without automatic reinstatement.
Relphorde has a history of prior discipline, including the same type of misconduct involved in the current case. In Matter of Relphorde, 596 N.E.2d 903 (Ind. 1992), he agreed to public reprimand for collecting a fee for representing a defendant after being appointed as pauper counsel. In Matter of Relphorde, 644 N.E.2d 874 (Ind. 1994), he agreed to a 60-day suspension with automatic reinstatement for neglect and conduct involving dishonesty. And in Matter of Relphorde, 760 N.E.2d 172 (Ind. 2001), he agreed to a 90-day suspension for neglect with automatic reinstatement, conditional on the refund of $3,000 unearned retainer.
The court’s agreement with the attorney, Matter of Relphorde, No. 45S00-1001-DI-39, states that the suspension would have been longer had Relphorde not entered into an agreement with the court. The court also wrote that reinstatement is discretionary and would be granted “only if he meets the most stringent requirements of proving by clear and convincing evidence that his rehabilitation is complete and he can safely reenter the legal profession.”
Relphorde has repaid the $1,000 to his client’s father and cooperated with the disciplinary action, the court said.