An attorney who implied to a client that he had the ability to improperly influence judges and suggested his client flee the court’s jurisdiction to avoid criminal prosecution has been suspended for 90 days.
While representing a defendant in a child molesting and child solicitation case, the defendant began recording Indianapolis attorney Carl Epstein during phone conversations in which Epstein bragged about having personal relationships with judges and implying he could improperly influence those judges. Further, the recordings revealed Epstein made pejorative comments about another client’s race, and also discussed whether his client to should flee the jurisdiction to avoid or delay his criminal prosecution.
After the Indiana Supreme Court Disciplinary Commission filed a complaint against Epstein, he stipulated to committing the alleged misconduct. Epstein was then found to be in violation of Indiana Rules of Professional Conduct 1.2(d), 8.4(e) and 8.4(g). Those rules relate to counseling a client in criminal conduct, implying the ability to exert improper influence and engaging in conduct that manifests in bias or prejudice.
Thus, the Indiana Supreme court imposed a 90-day suspension without automatic reinstatement against Epstein in a Wednesday order. The suspension will take effect on Jan. 25.
Epstein can petition for reinstatement at the end of the 90-day period if he pays the costs of the proceeding, fulfills the duties of a suspended attorney and satisfies the requirements for reinstatement. He will also be required to show by clear and convincing evidence that he is remorseful, rehabilitated and fit to practice law.
Editor's note: This article has been corrected to note the recordings were made by a client.