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Thursday, April 01, 2010

Ind. Decisions - Supreme Court disbars South Bend attorney

In the Matter of Rodney P. Sniadecki, a per curiam opinion in an attorney disciplinary action, issued today, is unusal in that it is 16-pages long, much longer than most other such disciplinary opinions.And it is unusual in that the attorney is flatly disbarred. Period.

From the opinion:

We find that Respondent, Rodney P. Sniadecki, engaged in attorney misconduct by violating the terms of a previous suspension from the practice of law, by entering into an improper business transaction with a client, and by committing crimes and engaging in dishonest conduct that is incompatible with the privilege of practicing law in this state. For this misconduct, we find that Respondent should be disbarred. * * *

The hearing officer recommends that Respondent be disbarred. In Indiana, disbarment permanently strips an attorney from the privilege of practicing law in the state. Disbarment is reserved for the most serious misconduct. The American Bar Association's Standards for Imposing Lawyer Sanctions (as amended in 1992) ("Standards") provide the following examples of misconduct warranting disbarment: * * *

Respondent's misconduct fits within all of the above Standards. We therefore conclude that Respondent should be disbarred. * * *

Respondent's misconduct fits within all of the above Standards. We therefore conclude that Respondent should be disbarred.

Conclusion. The Court finds clear and convincing evidence that Respondent violated these rules prohibiting the following conduct:

Ind. Admission and Discipline Rule 23(26): Failing to comply with the obligations of a suspended attorney.

Ind. Professional Conduct Rules:
1.8(a): Entering into a business transaction with a client unless the terms are fair and reasonable, the terms are fully and clearly disclosed, the client is given reasonable opportunity to seek independent counsel, and the client consents in writing to the transaction.
3.3(a): Knowingly making a false statement of fact to a tribunal.
3.4(c): Knowingly disobeying an obligation under the rules of a tribunal.
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.

For Respondent's professional misconduct, the Court disbars Respondent effective May 12, 2010. Respondent shall fulfill all the duties of a disbarred attorney under Admission and Discipline Rule 23(26).
The costs of this proceeding are assessed against Respondent.

Posted by Marcia Oddi on April 1, 2010 01:59 PM
Posted to Ind. Sup.Ct. Decisions