A Vincennes attorney’s law license has been suspended for 60 days, with his suspension stemming from a 2022 felony conviction for impersonating a public servant.
The Indiana Supreme Court issued the suspension order Thursday against Justin B. McGiffen.
McGiffen had been under an order of interim suspension since Oct. 12, 2022, as a result of pleading guilty in Gibson Superior Court to charges of impersonation of a public servant, a Level 6 felony, and misdemeanor reckless driving.
According to the Thursday discipline order, during a traffic stop for speeding and suspected operating a vehicle while intoxicated, McGiffen briefly displayed a gold badge.
The Supreme Court Disciplinary Commission complaint noted that McGiffn had been stopped by Indiana State Police for driving 93 miles per hour in a 60 mph zone.
After he was arrested and taken to jail, McGiffen attempted unsuccessfully to prevent jail staff from confiscating his badge.
Once confiscated, the badge was identified as a Vanderburgh County Prosecutor’s Office badge.
McGiffen previously worked at the VCPO, but was not employed by the office at the time of the stop.
His blood alcohol content was measured at just under 0.08.
With his guilty plea, McGiffen was sentenced to 270 days in jail, fully suspended, with credit for time served and the remaining balance on probation, according to the complaint.
The high court found that McGiffen violated the following Indiana Professional Conduct Rules:
- 8.4(b): Committing a criminal act that reflects adversely on the lawyer’s honesty, trustworthiness or fitness as a lawyer.
- 8.4(c): Engaging in conduct involving dishonesty, fraud, deceit or misrepresentation.
Hearing officer John M. Plummer recommended a suspension of at least 60 days with automatic reinstatement.
The hearing officer’s recommendation cited In the Matter of Brian J. Oberst, 84 N.E.3d 626 (Ind. 2017), in which the court approved an agreed 60-day suspension with automatic reinstatement for similar misconduct.
“Further, Respondent already has served a lengthy period of interim suspension during the pendency of this matter,” the order stated.
McGiffen’s 60-day suspension for professional misconduct began Thursday.
According to the order, at the conclusion of the period of suspension, provided there are no other suspensions then in effect, McGiffen will be automatically reinstated to the practice of law, subject to the conditions of Admission and Discipline Rule 23(18)(a).
Chief Justice Loretta Rush issued the order in In the Matter of: Justin B. McGiffen, 22S-DI-303, with all justices concurring.