Disciplinary Actions – 2/22/17

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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.

John M. Joyce, of Hamilton County, was reinstated to the practice of law by the Indiana Supreme Court Feb. 10. Joyce was suspended June 20, 2014, without automatic reinstatement for providing legal services to customers of a company providing estate planning services found to be engaging in the unauthorized practice of law.

Bruce J. Goldberg, of Floyd County, had his probation revoked by the Indiana Supreme Court and will be suspended beginning March 23 for at least 60 days, without automatic reinstatement. Goldberg, who initially was put on probation in August 2011, violated his probation by failing to pay bankruptcy filing fees or installments on behalf of clients; by commingling those client funds with his own; and by representing to the bankruptcy court that those client funds were no longer available. The costs of the proceeding are assessed against him.

Pamela Fratini, of Clark County, was suspended by the Indiana Supreme Court for her affiliation with US Legal Services Group, a California corporation that advertised various debt-relief services nationwide, including Indiana. The parties agree Fratini violated Rules of Professional Conduct 1.4(a)(1); 1.4(a)(5); 5.3(b), 5.5(a); and 8.4(a) and Guideline 9.3. Fratini’s suspension begins March 24 and will last for at least six months, without automatic reinstatement. The costs of the proceeding are assessed against her.

Gene D. Emmons, of Warrick County, was suspended for an additional three years by the Indiana Supreme Court Feb. 14. He engaged in attorney misconduct by converting guardianship funds, failing to comply with court orders, and failing to cooperate with the disciplinary process. Emmons was already under an order of indefinite suspension based on his noncooperation. His suspension is without automatic reinstatement, and the costs of the proceeding are assessed against him. Justice David would reject the conditional agreement. Read more on page 21.

Andrew U.D. Straw, of Illinois, was suspended by the Indiana Supreme Court for at least 180 days, effective Feb. 14, without automatic reinstatement. The suspension stems from four disciplinary counts alleging frivolous claims and arguments advanced by straw in four lawsuits, three filed on his own behalf and one filed on behalf of a client. Justice David dissents, believing the sanction is insufficient.•

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