A former Marion County public defender accused of offering to trade legal service for sex with a prostitute has been suspended from the practice of law.
Indiana Supreme Court justices unanimously agreed to suspend Christopher A. Hollander for a year without automatic reinstatement.
Hollander was arrested in January 2013 and charged with patronizing a prostitute. He pleaded guilty to the Class A misdemeanor last August, court records show, and he was ordered to serve two days of a one-year sentence.
Hollander had found a woman going by the name Harmony Scott on a website used by escorts and prostitutes, and he learned by looking through initial hearing records that she had been arrested. He sent a text message to Scott’s phone arranging to meet at a hotel to discuss legal services, unaware the phone was being used by an Indianapolis Metropolitan Police Department sergeant.
An undercover officer posing as Scott met Hollander at the hotel, and he was arrested after he offered to represent her in exchange for sex, according to charging information.
“The Court concludes that Respondent violated the Indiana Rules of Professional Conduct by, among other things, patronizing a prostitute and attempting to obtain sex or fellatio in exchange for legal services,” the court wrote in a per curiam opinion.
Mitigating factors include that Hollander has no prior discipline, he sought help from the Judges and Lawyers Assistance Program, he was candid with police after his arrest, and he expressed remorse for his behavior.
Hollander violated nine rules of professional conduct, the opinion states:
1.2(d): Attempting to counsel or assist a client in conduct the lawyer knows to be criminal;
1.5(a): Attempting to charge an unreasonable fee (sex for legal services);
1.7(a): Attempting to represent a client when the representation involves a concurrent conflict of interest;
1.8(j): Attempting to engage in a sexual relationship with a client unless it began prior to the representation;
7.3(a): Improperly soliciting employment in-person, by phone, or by
Real-time electronic contact from a person with whom the lawyer has no prior relationship when a significant motive is the lawyer's pecuniary gain;
8.4(a): Attempting to violate the Rules of Professional Conduct;
8.4(b): Committing a criminal act that reflects adversely on the lawyer's honesty, trustworthiness, or fitness as a lawyer;
8.4(c): Engaging in conduct involving dishonesty, fraud, deceit,
or misrepresentation; and,
8.4(d): Engaging in conduct prejudicial to the administration of justice.
The case is In the Matter of: Christopher A. Hollander, 49S00-1402-DI-118.