Indianapolis attorney and blogger Paul Ogden said he is quitting the practice of law rather than pay costs of more than $10,000 imposed on him as the result of a disciplinary case involving private comments he made about a judge.
“If (the Disciplinary Commission) didn’t get me, didn’t get my license taken away, they would give me such an expensive bill that it would drive me out of the profession,” Ogden said Monday. He said he’s considering other career opportunities.
Ogden claimed he offered early in his disciplinary process to settle for the same punishment he ultimately received, but the offer was refused. The Supreme Court ordered him to pay half the costs of the discipline process – a total of $10,086.77.
The Indiana Supreme Court in June suspended Ogden for 30 days with automatic reinstatement, finding that he violated Rule of Professional Conduct 8.2(a) for false statements criticizing Hendricks Superior Judge David Coleman’s handling of an estate case in which Ogden was involved.
That was the lone rule violation the Supreme Court found, determining other comments Ogden made fell under the broad protection of his First Amendment right to free speech.
Ogden posted on his blog Disbarring the Critics an analysis asserting that the commission spent more than $20,000 pursuing his disciplinary case, a sum Ogden claims is greater than any other disciplinary matter decided in the past two years. Spokespeople for the Indiana Supreme Court did not immediately respond to messages seeking comment.
“It strikes me as being outrageous that we have attorneys in this state who are stealing money from clients, taking money out of their trust accounts and using it for personal use and instead (the Disciplinary Commission) made me the highest priority,” Ogden said.
“It’s time the Supreme Court steps up and takes some responsibility,” he said. “The Disciplinary Commission is an arm of the Supreme Court, and they’re responsible for how they act and operate.”