The Indiana Supreme Court Disciplinary Commission brings charges against attorneys who have violated the state’s rules for admission to the bar and Rules of Professional Conduct. The Indiana Commission on Judicial Qualifications brings charges against judges, judicial officers, or judicial candidates for misconduct. Details of attorneys’ and judges’ actions for which they are being disciplined by the Supreme Court will be included unless they are not a matter of public record under the court’s rules.
Patrick V. Baker of Marion County has been suspended from the practice of law in Indiana for a period of not less than six months, without automatic reinstatement, beginning Nov. 25, 2011. An order from the Indiana Supreme Court Oct. 21, 2011, approved a statement of circumstances and conditional agreement for discipline and found Baker violated Indiana Professional Conduct Rules 1.4(b) failure to explain a matter to the extent reasonably necessary to permit a client to make an informed decision; 1.5(a) making an agreement for, charging or collecting an unreasonable amount for expenses; 3.4(e) alluding to any matter in trial that the lawyer doesn’t reasonably believe will be supported by admissible evidence; 4.1(a) knowingly making a false statement of material fact or law to a third person in the course of representing a client; and 7.3(a) improperly soliciting employment in person from a person with whom the lawyer has no prior relationship when a significant motive is the lawyer’s pecuniary gain. Baker in 2006 visited an incarcerated man who’d been indicted for murder and agreed to represent him pro bono, despite a public defender already being appointed. Baker made opening statements about the police investigation that were false and the court found he should have known the evidence wouldn’t support the statements. After the man was found guilty and sentenced to 65 years, Baker agreed to represent him pro bono on appeal. The lawyer told the man’s mother the trial court would pay the copying and filing costs, even though he hadn’t requested funds from the court. He also gave the man’s mother briefs that weren’t properly file-stamped or had grammatical errors, and Baker convinced the mother to pay $1,500 to cover the copying and filing costs. The parties found aggravating factors: Baker’s misconduct was motivated by selfishness because he expected publicity from the case would lead to an increase in business; that he victimized three vulnerable people involved in the case; and Baker made multiple ethical violations and demonstrated a gross disregard for the professional conduct rules.
Jacob A. Atanga of Marion County had his suspension from the practice of law for failure to cooperate in a disciplinary case terminated by the Supreme Court, as of Oct. 21, 2011. He was suspended in August for non-cooperation.
Deborah D. Kubley of Monroe County had her suspension from the practice of law for failure to cooperate in a disciplinary case terminated by the Supreme Court, as of Oct. 17, 2011. She was suspended in December 2010 for noncooperation.•