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Thursday, May 27, 2010

Ind. Courts - Incoming Disciplinary Commission Executive Secretary, Michael Witte, subject of complaint by Dearborn County commissioner

This press release was sent out today on behalf of Jeffrey Hughes, Dearborn County Commissioner:

COUNTY COMMISSIONER REQUESTS DISCIPLINARY COMMISSION INVESTIGATION

Concerns regard County Attorney G. Michael Witte's actions

(Lawrenceburg) Dearborn County Commissioner Jeff Hughes announced today that he is "deeply troubled" that County Attorney, G. Michael Witte accused two county employees of violating the Hatch Act.

"It appears that our Attorney acted completely on his own and without the authorization of his client, the Dearborn County Board of Commissioners. I feel that he may not have done an adequate job researching the issue before he acted on it," Hughes stated.

In a public meeting on May 17, 2010, Witte accused two county employees, Bryan Messmore, Victim Advocate Coordinator of the Dearborn-Ohio County prosecutor's Office and Detective Shane McHenry of the Dearborn County Sheriff's Department of violating the Hatch Act.

"I am bringing this issue forward because of my concern and the concerns expressed by the citizens of Dearborn County regarding our attorney's conduct. I heard this issue was even brought forward by several members of county Council at its May 25, 2010 meeting," Hughes continued.

Hughes further stated that he "believes Mr. Witte may have possibly engaged in behavior that is within the jurisdiction of the Disciplinary Commission of the Supreme Court. I have requested an investigation to be conducted by the Disciplinary Commission and understand that any final determination is up to the Supreme Court."

That may be a problem. This press release was sent out by the Supreme Court on May 10, 2010. It begins:
G. Michael Witte, former Dearborn County Judge, has been named the Indiana Disciplinary Commission Executive Secretary. The Disciplinary Commission is the agency that investigates and prosecutes alleged attorney misconduct. The Indiana Supreme Court approved naming Judge Witte as the agency head, confirming a recommendation from the nine-member Indiana Disciplinary Commission. * * *

The majority of Judge Witte’s career was spent serving the Dearborn Superior Court. He was elected to the bench in 1985 and served through 2008. He was the first Asian-American to serve as judge in the state of Indiana. In March 2009, the Supreme Court appointed him to serve as temporary judge of Wayne Superior Court 1. He currently serves as a Senior Judge and dedicates time to national professional associations. * * *

Mr. Witte is expected to begin working in mid-June. As Disciplinary Commission Executive Secretary he will work with agency staff and the nine-member Commission to ensure members of the Indiana bar uphold the Rules of Professional Conduct. He will lead the agency that investigates and prosecutes cases of alleged attorney misconduct. The Indiana Supreme Court has final authority over all attorney discipline cases.

Posted by Marcia Oddi on May 27, 2010 06:45 PM
Posted to Indiana Courts