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Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Ind. Decisions - Supreme Court orders imprisonment of disbarred attorney

Recalling this ILB post (In re Freeman) from April 9, 2012, headed "Supreme Court disciplinary order 'conditionally directing imprisonment,'" the Supreme Court has issued an order April 13th, In the Matter of William J. Rawls, that is headed: "Published order finding respondent in contempt of court, imposing fine, and directing imprisonment." Some quotes from the order:

On November 12, 2010, the Court entered an order disbarring Respondent, effective December 27, 2010. See Matter of Rawls, 936 N.E.2d 812 (Ind. 2010).

The Commission filed a Verified Motion for Rule to Show Cause on January 6, 2012, alleging that Respondent engaged in the following acts in violation of his disbarment: On February 28, 2011, he appeared in the court office of Marion Superior Court 1, Civil Division, requested a file from the court clerk, completed an appearance form on behalf of another attorney, signed the attorney's name on the appearance form, and placed the initials "BW" next to the signature. Witnesses were Magistrate Victoria M. Ransberger and Bailiff Ben Bryant.

The Court entered an Order to Show Cause on January 13, 2012, directing Respondent to show cause in writing, within 15 days of service why he should not be held in contempt for violating Admission and Discipline Rule 23(26)(b) by maintaining a presence or occupying an office where the practice of law is conducted after his disbarment. Respondent was served with the order by certified mail on or before January 24, 2012. It has been over 15 days since Respondent was served with the Order to Show Cause, and Respondent has not responded.

In the absence of any response from Respondent contesting the Commission's charges, we conclude that Respondent violated his duties as a disbarred attorney by maintaining a presence or occupying an office where the practice of law is conducted. * * *

The Court therefore ORDERS that Respondent be sentenced to a term of imprisonment for a period of seven (7) days, without the benefit of good time. The Sheriff of the Supreme Court of Indiana is directed to take Respondent into custody and turn him over to the Indiana Department of Correction. In carrying out this order, the Sheriff of the Supreme Court of Indiana may seek the assistance of the Indiana State Police and any other law enforcement officer, and any such law enforcement officer shall provide the requested assistance.

The Court further ORDERS that Respondent be fined the sum of $500.00. * * *

Brent E. Dickson
Acting Chief Justice of Indiana
All Justices concur, except Massa, J., not participating.

Posted by Marcia Oddi on April 17, 2012 01:20 PM
Posted to Ind. Sup.Ct. Decisions