Indy attorney publicly reprimanded after immigration case

An Indianapolis attorney accused of encouraging a client to falsify federal immigration documents has been publicly reprimanded by the Indiana Supreme Court.

In 2012, a U.S. citizen living in New Jersey hired Indianapolis attorney Hong-Min Jun to help his wife, a South Korean citizen and resident, emigrate to the United States. Jun advised his client that the lawful method of gaining permanent residency in the U.S. would be to obtain an immigrant visa and that the visa process could take 10 months or more.

Instead, Jun told his client’s wife to enter the U.S. on a non-immigrant visa or visa waiver, then seek permanent residency status once she was physically in the country. According to the disciplinary order handed down Tuesday, Jun knew that his client’s wife would have to falsely indicate on her application that she intended to leave the country when her non-immigrant visa expire, withhold her marital status to a U.S. citizen, or make other false statements.

When the client’s wife arrived in the U.S., she was denied entry based on false statement she made to customs officials and was instead forced to take the next return flight to South Korea. If the wife tries to enter or obtain permanent U.S. resident status in the future, her false statements will make the process more difficult, the order states.

The hearing officer and Indiana Supreme Court found that Jun “counseled or assisted his client to engage in conduct he knew to be criminal or fraudulent,” a violation of Indiana Professional Conduct Rule 1.2(d). Although his harm was “significant,” the court also wrote Tuesday that Jun has no prior discipline, was cooperative and was not motivated by selfish reasons.

Thus, a public reprimand was the appropriate punishment, the court wrote. The costs of the proceedings were also assessed against Jun.

In addition to Jun’s public reprimand, the Indiana Supreme Court also reinstated a formerly suspended attorney on Tuesday.

Michigan City attorney Kimberly Kiner was suspended in November 2016 after the court ordered her in July 2016 to show cause as to why she should not be immediately suspended after a grievance was filed against her. Kiner failed to respond within the 10-day time limit, and again failed to meet the deadline after requesting an additional 45 days to respond.

However, the commission filed a Certificate of Compliance on Monday indicating that Kiner had begun cooperating with the investigation, so the court, with Justice Robert Rucker acting as chief justice, terminated her suspension. However, failure to pay any outstanding costs assessed in the case by Oct. 1 will once again subject Kiner to suspension.

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