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Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Ind. Decisions - Supreme Court issues new disciplinary opinion

In In re Susan J. Kriesel, a 2-page, 5-0 opinion dated Oct. 11, 2012, the Court writes:

Respondent was suspended for registration fee ("dues") nonpayment and continuing legal education ("CLE") noncompliance effective 11:59 p.m., June 20, 2008. Respondent was aware of this suspension, which is still in effect. Nevertheless, Respondent continued to practice law as an associate in the employ of a law firm for more than three years, until approximately September 9, 2011.

The parties agree that Respondent practiced law while suspended in contempt of this Court's suspension order. The parties propose the appropriate sanction in the circumstances of this case is imposition of a $250.00 fine and conversion of her dues nonpayment and CLE noncompliance suspension to an indefinite suspension from practice. Respondent admits that she practiced law unabated for three years, knowing she was suspended. The only issue is whether the punishment proposed is sufficient. * * *

The sanction imposed for Respondent's contempt of court might have been more severe had this matter been submitted without the Commission's agreement that the punishment proposed is sufficient under the circumstances. If Respondent petitions for reinstatement, Respondent will be required to address her dues nonpayment, her CLE noncompliance, her knowing violation of this Court's suspension order, and the attorney fees she earned while suspended. Approval of a petition for reinstatement is discretionary and requires clear and convincing evidence of the attorney's remorse, rehabilitation, and fitness to practice law. See Admis. Disc. R. 23(4)(b).

IT IS THEREFORE ORDERED that Respondent be fined the sum of two hundred and fifty dollars ($250.00). Respondent shall remit this amount within 60 days of the date of this order to the Clerk of the Indiana Supreme Court, Court of Appeals and Tax Court.

IT IS FURTHER ORDERED that Respondent's current suspension from the practice of law for dues nonpayment and CLE noncompliance is converted to an indefinite suspension, effective immediately. Respondent is ordered to fulfill the continuing duties of a suspended attorney under Admission and Discipline Rule 23(26). To be readmitted to the practice of law in this State, Respondent must cure the causes of all suspensions in effect, pay the $250.00 fine and any other amounts owing to the Court, the Clerk, or the Commission, and successfully petition this Court for reinstatement pursuant to Admission and Discipline Rule 23(4) and (18).

Posted by Marcia Oddi on October 16, 2012 11:34 AM
Posted to Ind. Sup.Ct. Decisions