AG Hill ordered to pay $19K in disciplinary costs

The Indiana Supreme Court has ordered Republican Attorney General Curtis Hill to pay more than $19,000 in expenses in a disciplinary case stemming from allegations he groped a state lawmaker and three other women during a party.

The order issued Friday by the high court and agreed to by the five justices directs Hill to pay $19,068.54 in a check made payable to the clerk of the court.

That amount is about one-third of the roughly $57,000 the Indiana Supreme Court Disciplinary Commission had asked the court in September to order Hill pay toward expenses in the groping case. The commission’s proposed bill had included about $8,000 in investigation and litigation costs and nearly $49,000 for former Supreme Court Justice Myra Selby’s work as the case’s hearing officer.

Hill disputed the commission’s proposal in an October filing, with his lawyer, former commission head Donald Lundberg, arguing instead that he pay a total of $17,402.21. Hill and Lundberg challenged expenses related to witness hotel costs as well as several expenses the commission attributed to Selby, including time spent reviewing unsuccessful motions and allegations, time spent “consulting” with an associate at Ice Miller LLP, where Selby is a partner, and time spent attending to “media matters.”

Additionally, Hill sought an overall two-thirds reduction in the costs taxable to him, arguing that the commission took an “extreme” position on sanction.

The commission initially sought a two-year suspension of his law license without automatic reinstatement, then later urged the high court to impose a “lengthy” suspension without automatic reinstatement. Hill however, had argued that he should receive no more than a public reprimand.

“It is simply impossible to achieve an agreed resolution in a discipline case when the Commission’s posture on sanction is extreme,” Lundberg wrote on Hill’s behalf in October. “A Respondent finding himself in those circumstances faces a grim choice: acquiesce in the Commission’s extreme position or contest the matter at a hearing. The Respondent chose the latter option and in doing so obtained a result that was 2.7% of the sanction urged by the Commission to the Hearing Officer.”

Selby ultimately recommended a 60-day suspension without automatic reinstatement, but the Indiana Supreme Court has the final say on all disciplinary sanctions.

Friday’s order from the high court was signed by Chief Justice Loretta Rush and states that Hill must pay $16,247.55 to the court as reimbursement for Selby’s work as the hearing officer. The order also directs Hill to pay $2,737.66 to the commission to reimburse it for investigative expenses and $83.33 to the clerk of the court as reimbursement for court costs.

Hill in June completed a 30-day suspension of his law license after the Supreme Court found “by clear and convincing evidence that (Hill) committed the criminal act of battery” against the women. The women say Hill drunkenly groped them during a March 2018 party at an Indianapolis bar marking the end of that year’s legislative session.

Hill has denied wrongdoing. His reelection bid failed when he lost the Republican nomination in June to former U.S. Rep. Todd Rokita, who then defeated Democrat Jonathan Weinzapfel, a former Evansville mayor, in the November election.

Rokita will take office in January.

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