Crown Point attorney suspended after battery plea for spitting on officer

Indiana Supreme Court justices have suspended a Crown Point attorney and ordered her to JLAP services after she was found driving recklessly and asleep behind the wheel before struggling with and spitting on an officer.

Justices on Tuesday unanimously suspended attorney Carrie L. Kooi from the practice of law in Indiana after she pleaded guilty to Class A misdemeanor battery resulting in bodily injury.

According to the high court’s unanimous order, Kooi in September 2017 was seen driving recklessly on the Indiana Toll Road and was later found by police asleep behind the wheel at a service plaza along the toll road.

After Kooi refused to perform any field sobriety tests or submit to a chemical breath test, she was taken to a nearby hospital for a blood draw pursuant to a warrant. Upon arriving at the hospital, Kooi struggled with a police officer and twice spat on him twice, the order says.

As a result, Kooi was charged with Level 6 felony battery by bodily waste and later pleaded guilty to the Class A misdemeanor.

The order also says Kooi failed to report a prior conviction for reckless driving to the Indiana Supreme Court Disciplinary Commission. That conviction had been pleaded down from an original charge of operating while intoxicated.

Both parties agreed that Kooi violated Indiana Professional Conduct Rule 8.4(b), prohibiting criminal conduct that reflects adversely on a lawyer’s trustworthiness or fitness. The high court therefore ordered that she be suspended from the practice of law for a period of 90 days beginning Nov. 23, with 30 days actively served and the remainder stayed subject to the completion of at least two years of probation.

As part of the terms and conditions of her agreed discipline, the order says Kooi shall undergo an alcohol and substance abuse evaluation by the Indiana Judges and Lawyers Assistance Program and will follow through with the course of treatment, if any, prescribed by JLAP. She will also cure her administrative suspension prior to the effective date of her disciplinary suspension.

“If Respondent violates the terms of her probation, the stay of her suspension shall be vacated and the balance of the stayed suspension shall be actively served without automatic reinstatement,” Chief Justice Loretta Rush wrote in the case of In the Matter of: Carrie L. Kooi, 19S-DI-301.

The costs of the proceedings are assessed against Kooi, who must pay $945.29.

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