Appeals court affirms disbarred attorney’s convictions

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The South Bend attorney who was disbarred in 2010 and convicted of forgery in 2013 lost his appeal before the Indiana Court of Appeals Thursday.

Rodney P. Sniadecki was convicted in September 2013 of three counts of Class C felony forgery related to his actions while he was suspended by the Indiana Supreme Court. The solo practitioner was suspended in 2007 for six months for multiple violations of the Indiana Rules of Professional Conduct.

During his suspension, he directed his legal assistant, Sherry White, to file documents in a criminal case under another attorney’s name without that attorney’s knowledge. Sniadecki also had White create fraudulent documents to help him get a loan from a mortgage company.

Based on these actions, the justices disbarred him in 2010.

Sniadecki received a suspended sentence and probation on the forgery convictions.

In Rodney Paul Sniadecki v. State of Indiana (NFP), 71A03-1401-CR-16, the judges found he was not placed in double jeopardy for purposes of the Double Jeopardy Clause, there was no error in admitting testimony from White, and the evidence supported his convictions.

“Chief among the personal traits required of attorneys are honesty and trustworthiness. These traits are explicitly recognized in our Rules of Professional Conduct as those most relevant to the practice of law, and conduct involving dishonesty, fraud, deceit, or misrepresentation will subject an attorney to discipline even if it does not rise to the level of a crime. Unfortunately, this case involves not only a failure to live up to the heightened standard of conduct our State requires of those privileged to practice law, but also a failure to observe the law generally,” Judge John Baker wrote.

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