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Discipinary Actions - 7/27/16

July 27, 2016

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.

Disbarred
Timothy S. Durham, of Marion County, was disbarred by the Indiana Supreme Court July 20 for violating Rules of Professional Conduct for his role in a Ponzi scheme defrauding investors in his company of more than $200 million. Durham was already under an order of interim suspension in this matter as well as a separate suspension order for nonpayment of dues. The costs of the proceeding are assessed against him.
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Joseph C. Lehman, of Elkhart County, was disbarred July 21 for continued unauthorized practice of law while suspended. The costs of the proceeding are assessed against him.


Suspension
Eduardo Fontanez Jr., of Lake County, has been suspended by the Indiana Supreme Court for misconduct involving comingling client funds with his personal funds. Throughout 2015, Fontanez also made a number of disbursements from his trust account that were not based upon a written withdrawal authorization. He did not invade client funds or use client money for his own purposes. The justices approved the proposed discipline agreed to by Fontanez and the Disciplinary Commission: he is suspended for six months, beginning Aug. 22, with two months actively served and the remainder stayed subject to completion of at least two years of probation. The costs of the proceeding are assessed against him.
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The Indiana Supreme Court granted the Disciplinary Commission’s verified petition to determine disability and ordered on July 14 that Marion County attorney Kenneth T. Roberts be suspended from practice due to disability, effective immediately. He may petition for reinstatement upon termination of the disability. His pending disciplinary case is dismissed without prejudice.

Contempt
Michael L. James, of Louisville, Kentucky, has been fined $1,000 and suspended for two years without automatic reinstatement for practicing in Indiana without being admitted. The Indiana Supreme Court suspended James in 1999 and 2000 based on suspensions in Kentucky. James was reinstated in his home state, but never properly filed for reinstatement here. He has appeared and represented clients in 10 separate criminal and CHINS cases in Indiana, even after a judge in 2013 brought to his attention his suspension.•

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