The Indiana Supreme Court has disbarred an Evansville attorney who pleaded guilty in 2011 to Class D felony theft for exercising unauthorized control over more than $17,000 that belonged to 24 current or former clients.
Douglas Patterson has a history of disciplinary action. In 2008, he was suspended for three years after he wrote unauthorized checks totaling $10,500 on the firm’s trust account. He lied to the Indiana Supreme Court Disciplinary Commission during the investigation and hearing. While suspended, he was found in contempt in 2009 for practicing and fined $500.
Last year, Patterson pleaded guilty to three counts of Class D felony theft and received an interim suspension from the Supreme Court, which is still in effect. His disbarment comes after the disciplinary commission charged Patterson in November 2011 with violating Indiana Professional Conduct rules 8.4(b), committing a criminal act that reflects adversely on the lawyer's honesty, trustworthiness, or fitness as a lawyer; and 8.4(c), engaging in conduct involving dishonesty, fraud, deceit or misrepresentation.
Patterson received an aggregate three year sentence, with one year executed, for the theft convictions.
The justices in the per curiam opinion, In the Matter of: Douglas W. Patterson, 82S00-1111-DI-662, found Patterson’s conduct warrants immediate disbarment.