Justices revise Blickman discipline order in Park Tudor case

The Indiana Supreme Court on Friday amended its order reprimanding Ice Miller employment attorney Michael Blickman, removing language that said he told authorities he didn’t know where images were in a Park Tudor High School sexting scandal between a coach and a student in which Blickman represented the school.

The order concerns its Dec. 9 opinion in which the court reprimanded Blickman for attempting to “silence a fifteen-year-old crime victim and frustrate law enforcement,” among other things. While the court’s reprimand stands, the order corrects its underlying narrative in the case.

Blickman

Blickman represented Park Tudor when a student’s parent complained to the school that then-boys basketball coach Kyle Cox exchanged explicit texts and sexual images with the student.

After a meeting with school officials in 2015, the student’s father agreed to give the teen’s laptop to Blickman, who later asked IT specialists at his law firm to make copies of the images to preserve evidence.

Ultimately, Cox was indicted, then-Park Tudor headmaster Matthew Miller died by suicide and Blickman was fired as the school’s outside counsel. Cox was eventually convicted and is now serving a 14-year sentence, while the school entered into a deferred prosecution agreement with the U.S. Attorney’s Office and the student’s family entered into a settlement agreement with Park Tudor and Ice Miller.

Blickman’s discipline case was filed in November 2018.

In revising its order, the Indiana Supreme Court struck the portion of the narrative that read, “Respondent initially told police he did not know where the materials were but they were not at the school.” In place of that sentence, the opinion was modified to read, “During about an hour of questioning, Respondent repeatedly concealed from authorities that he possessed the material sought.”

Blickman’s defense team in his disciplinary case — which includes former Justice Ted Boehm and attorneys from Hoover Hull Turner LLP — noted the significance of the change in petitioning the court to amend the opinion before its publication.

“The mistaken statement in the Opinion implies that Respondent lied to a police officer. This is a serious and significant matter and will cause continuing harm to Respondent if left uncorrected,” the petition said. … “No such allegation was ever made by the Disciplinary Commission or anyone else. … This Court’s opinion should not serve as an unwarranted basis for anyone to report that Respondent lied to law enforcement.”

The disciplinary commission objected to the change, however, asserting in response to Blickman’s petition that he knew of the evidence when he spoke with a detective who was investigating allegations of child abuse concerning the 15-year-old.

Blickman, the commission said, “knew he had taken possession of the very evidence of child abuse. The opinion accurately draws the conclusion that Respondent’s claim of lack of additional information was an implicit denial of his possession or even knowledge of that evidence.” The commission also said Blickman’s “complete lack of candor” to prosecutors “also support the court’s conclusion.”

Justice Geoffrey Slaughter, the lone member of the court who dissented from the reprimand of Blickman, wrote in a separate concurrence that while he agreed a rehearing was warranted to correct a factual misstatement, he saw the issue differently. “It is true that Michael Blickman was not forthcoming with the deputy prosecutor in that he did not tell the ‘whole’ truth,” Slaughter wrote. “It is also true that Blickman was not under oath and had no duty to answer unasked questions. No such duty should be inferred from our revision.”

The case is In the Matter of Michael A. Blickman (modified on rehearing), 18S-DI-553.

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