Disciplinary Actions 9/20/17

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.

Perry County attorney John Downey Pierce was disbarred by Aug. 31 for mismanaging his trust account, converting client funds, disobeying a court order and failing to cooperate with the disciplinary process. Justices Massa and Slaughter dissented over the sanction, believing a three-year suspension without automatic reinstatement should be imposed. Read more on page 26.

The Indiana Supreme Court found Porter County attorney Darcie L. Campanella in contempt Aug. 29 and imposed sanctions for practicing law while suspended. Campanella must pay a $500 fine within 30 days or she will be ordered to serve 30 days in the Department of Correction. The justices also extended her suspension for at least one year, without automatic reinstatement. The costs of the proceeding are assessed against her. Justice David dissented, believing Campanella’s conduct warrants some mandatory executed term of imprisonment as well as a substantial fine.

Grant County attorney Beau J. White was suspended for at least three years without automatic reinstatement Sept. 5 for committing attorney misconduct in connection with his representation of a client and by failing to cooperate with the disciplinary process. Chief Justice Rush and Justice David dissented, believing White should receive a significant period of suspension or disbarment.

The Indiana Supreme Court converted St. Joseph County attorney Fronse W. Smith’s suspension for noncooperation to an indefinite suspension on Sept. 7.

Chicago attorney Courtney O. Wylie, who was suspended in Indiana based on a suspension in Illinois, has been released from reciprocal suspension and reinstated as an inactive member of the Indiana bar, per a Sept. 7 order. The order comes after Wyle was reinstated to practice in Illinois.

Public reprimand
Hamilton County attorney Steven Kirsh was publicly reprimanded Sept. 8 by the Indiana Supreme Court based on a case in which he represented clients seeking to adopt a baby from the birth mother. He attempted to have the clients sign a release form that purportedly barred them from filing a “claim” with the Disciplinary Commission. Chief Justice Rush did not participate.•

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