A Muncie attorney who failed to communicate with an incarcerated client for years before withdrawing representation from the inmate’s case has been suspended from the practice of law in Indiana for 120 days with automatic reinstatement.
Indiana Supreme Court justices in a Thursday order approving statement of circumstances and conditional agreement for discipline found attorney Jacob P. Dunnuck committed misconduct for an incident related to his representation of a client charged with battery and other criminal acts.
Dunnuck, who was appointed a public defender for “Client” in September 2017, failed to respond to written communications and rarely met with him in person, despite the client’s numerous letters to Dunnuck and to the court expressing his desire for a speedy trial and asking for information about his case.
Additionally, the order states that without the client’s knowledge or consent, Dunnuck obtained numerous continuances over the course of the next three years while his client remained incarcerated and unable to meet the bail set in his case.
Dunnuck ultimately withdrew representation for that client in August 2020.
Justices thus found Dunnuck violated Indiana Professional Conduct Rules 1.2(a), 1.3, 1.4(a), 1.4(b), 3.2 and 8.4(d) and suspended him from the practice of law in Indiana for 120 days, beginning Nov. 18.
Dunnuck is prohibited from undertaking any new legal matters between service of the Sept. 7 order and the effective date of his suspension. He must fulfill all the duties of a suspended attorney under Admission and Discipline Rule 23(26).
At the end of his suspension, Dunnuck will be automatically reinstated to the practice of law, so long as there aren’t any other suspensions in effect. The costs of the proceedings are against him.
In September, Dunnuck did not return an IL request for comment in a case where he represents a Muncie woman charged with false informing after claiming a police officer caused her injury during arrest.
This is Dunnuck’s second disciplinary action against him, according to the Indiana Roll of Attorney