The Indiana Supreme Court has accepted the resignation of a Hoosier attorney who faced multiple felony drunken-driving counts. Justices also ordered reciprocal discipline for another lawyer who was removed from the practice of law by the Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals.
On Thursday, the high court accepted the resignation of Fort Wayne attorney Thomas W. Belleperche effective immediately. The order accepting Belleperche’s resignation said he acknowledged there was a pending investigation or proceeding involving alleged misconduct that he could not defend himself against.
While the order doesn’t specify the nature of the investigation, court records show Belleperche faced multiple felony counts of operating a vehicle while intoxicated filed in Allen County courts this year.
Belleperche’s entry on the Indiana Roll of Attorneys shows his resignation follows a reinstatement to the Indiana bar in October 2010, subject to a successful probation and completion of at least three years on terms determined by JLAP. Before that, Belleperche was suspended for six months in September 2005, all stayed, subject to probation of at least 24 months. That probation was revoked for violations by order dated May 2006, and the Supreme Court suspended him for six months without automatic reinstatement in June 2006.
Belleperche can petition for reinstatement after five years, and any allegations of misconduct may be considered in the reinstatement process. In order to be reinstated, he must prove his remorse, rehabilitation and fitness to practice law. The costs of the proceedings were assessed against him.
The high court also imposed a 30-day active suspension Thursday against Crown Point attorney John H. Davis after his removal from the roll of attorneys admitted to practice law in the Seventh Circuit for failure to comply with court rules and for unprofessional conduct.
Justices accepted the disciplinary commission’s request that reciprocal discipline be imposed on Davis in the state of Indiana following his May 2018 removal from the practice of law in the 7th Circuit Court. The high court found no showing pursuant to Rule 23(20)(e)(1)-(3) of any reason why reciprocal discipline should not be issued in Indiana. However, it found that pursuant to Rule 23(20)(e)(4), the misconduct established warranted substantially different discipline in the Hoosier state.
Davis has been ordered to fulfill all the duties of a suspended attorney under Admission and Discipline Rule 23(26) and shall be automatically reinstated to the practice of law in Indiana. Davis’ suspension will go into effect immediately and the costs of the proceedings were assessed against him.