A Marion attorney who failed to communicate with multiple clients and failed to cooperate with an Indiana Supreme Court Disciplinary Commission investigation has been suspended from the practice of law for three years without automatic reinstatement.
In the disciplinary proceeding of In the Matter of: Beau J. White, 27S00-1703-DI-131, Marion attorney Beau White was hired to represent a client in a criminal case, but did very little work and was not able to be reached for information about the case. White appeared the morning of the trial with very little material, so the client told the judge she was not comfortable proceeding.
The judge continued the matter, then filed a request for investigation with the commission. However, White did not timely respond to the commission’s inquiries, prompting show cause proceedings.
Then, White was hired to represent a second client in a paternity and child support case, but again was unreachable after the client paid the retainer fee. The second client filed another request for a commission investigation, and after White failed timely respond, a second round of show cause proceedings were initiated.
In total, nine show cause proceedings have been initiated against White since 2014, including five that are still pending. Additionally, the Indiana Supreme Court wrote in a footnote to the Tuesday decision that a “Notice of Finding of Guilt and Request for Suspension” is also pending against White based on a felony drug conviction from earlier this year. White’s entry in the Indiana Roll of Attorneys shows 12 total disciplinary actions, half of which are still listed as pending.
The hearing officer in White’s disciplinary case found him to be in violation of Indiana Professional Conduct Rules 1.3, 1.4(a)(a), 8.1(b) and 8.4(d). Those rules related to failing to serve and respond to client inquiries, failing to respond to the commission, and engaging in conduct prejudicial to the administration of justice.
The justices agreed with those findings and, after noting his lengthy disciplinary history, determined “a lengthy suspension without automatic reinstatement is necessary.” A majority of justices imposed a three-year suspension without automatic reinstatement and assessed the costs of the proceedings against White. However, Chief Justice Loretta Rush and Justice Steve David dissented, “believing that (White) is deserving of a significant period of suspension or disbarment.”