Justices to suspended attorney: Pay fine or face prison

The Indiana Supreme Court has ordered a Kokomo attorney who is already suspended to pay a fine or face a 15-day prison sentence after he was found in contempt for practicing law while suspended.

Charles Huston of the Huston Law Office was initially suspended in December for noncooperation with an Indiana Supreme Court Disciplinary Commission investigation of a grievance against him. That suspension became indefinite in April and remains in effect.

Then on May 3, the commission filed a show cause petition alleging Huston had continued to practice law and had held himself out as an attorney despite his suspension. The commission pointed to specific incident in February, when Huston contacted the office of opposing counsel, indicated he would be entering an appearance on behalf of a client, and asking if opposing counsel would object to a continuance. Opposing counsel responded by noting Huston’s suspension.

Huston’s unauthorized conduct continued in March, when he contacted opposing counsel in another case to let the attorney know he could not attend a hearing the following day and expressed an interest in reaching a settlement. That attorney also noted Huston was suspended, but Huston began arguing about the merits of the case and threatened to sue the opposing counsel and opposing party for prosecuting the case in question. He also threatened the opposing counsel with a suspension that allegedly would be worse than his own.

Huston has yet to respond to the show cause order, so the justices found in a Wednesday per curiam opinion that he engaged in contempt by practicing law while suspended. Thus, the justices extended his suspension to at least two years, without automatic reinstatement.

The court also ordered Huston to pay a $750 fine within 30 days of the Wednesday opinion in In the Matter of Charles R. Huston, 18S-DI-258. If he does not pay the full amount within that time, the court will order him to serve a 15-day prison sentence, without the benefit of good time.

The costs of the proceeding are also assessed against him. All justices concurred.

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