Justices suspend attorney following multiple OWI arrests

A Huntington County lawyer who was arrested five times in a little more than a year on alcohol-related charges has been suspended from the practice of law for 180 days, with half of that time stayed.

According to an Indiana Supreme Court order issued Friday, Matthew Clay Piatt was arrested five times between April 2017 and August 2018 for offenses involving public intoxication and operating a vehicle while intoxicated. Piatt then failed to notify the Indiana Supreme Court Disciplinary Commission of his first OWI conviction, the order says. 

“Respondent also did not timely respond to the Commission’s demand for information, leading to the initiation of show cause proceedings that eventually were dismissed when Respondent belatedly complied. Respondent has no prior discipline and has voluntarily taken several measures to respond to his misconduct, including among other things entering into a monitoring agreement with the Judges and Lawyers Assistance Program,” Chief Justice Loretta Rush wrote in the order.

Both parties agreed that Piatt violated Indiana Professional Conduct Rules 8.1(b), 8.4(b) and 8.4(d). The Indiana Supreme Court therefore suspended Piatt from the practice of law for a period of 180 days, beginning on the date of the Oct. 16 order, with 90 days actively served and the remainder stayed subject to completion of at least two years of probation with JLAP monitoring.

“The Court incorporates by reference the terms and conditions of probation set forth in the parties’ Conditional Agreement, which include: (1) Respondent shall refrain from alcohol and all mind-altering substances except as prescribed. (2) Respondent shall have no arrests and no violations of the Rules of Professional Conduct during his probation. (3) If Respondent violates the terms of his probation, the stay of his suspension shall be vacated and the stayed suspension shall be actively served without automatic reinstatement,” the order reads.

Notwithstanding the expiration of the minimum term of probation set forth above,

Piatt’s probation shall remain in effect until it is terminated pursuant to a petition to terminate probation filed under Admission and Discipline Rule 23(16).

The costs of the proceeding are assessed against him in In the Matter of: Matthew C. Piatt, 20S-DI-6.

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