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Monday, January 12, 2015

Ind. Decisions - Supreme Court issues one disciplinary ruling 1/8/15

In In the Matter of Leah S. Fink, an order filed late on Jan. 8 and posted today, the Court ordered "that Respondent be suspended from the practice of law in this State, effective immediately."

A subscription site, Law360, has a story by Gavin Broady that begins:

Law360, New York (January 12, 2015, 5:17 PM ET) -- The Indiana Supreme Court has issued an emergency suspension order barring an Indiana criminal lawyer and former state bench candidate from practicing law while she awaits the outcome of felony charges for allegedly running a methamphetamine production laboratory with her boyfriend.
The ILB had a post Aug. 17, 2011, headed "Corydon attorney arrested for manufacturing meth."

A June 3, 2014 story by Grace Schneider in the Louisville Courier Journal is headed "Corydon lawyer re-arrested on meth charges." Some quotes:

A former public defender and well-known Corydon defense lawyer already facing charges that she made and sold methamphetamine in Harrison County was arrested early Tuesday on similar drug charges in Clark County.

Leah Fink now faces new charges of maintaining a common nuisance, manufacturing meth and possessing precursors for meth. She was released from the county jail in Jeffersonville after posting bond of $1,505. * * *

Early Tuesday, Harrison County police officers investigating a burglary happened upon Fink and Ripperdan at 1006 Robin Lane in Jeffersonville. They obtained a search warrant after seeing evidence of meth production and returned with Jeffersonville officers, Harrison County Sheriff Rod Seelye said.

Investigators found an active meth lab inside a detached garage. They also found evidence of “multiple active labs” previously on the premises, including some items in Fink’s car, Seelye said.

“Obviously, they’re back doing what they were doing before,” the sheriff said.

The pair was arrested without incident and an Indiana State Police team which dismantles meth labs was called to the scene.

Harrison deputies first arrested Fink with Ripperdan following a two-month investigation and raid at her mother’s home in the 500 block of Eastridge Road in Corydon in 2011. Fink worked nearly two decades as a defense lawyer in Harrison and Floyd counties, and also served several years as a public defender in Harrison Superior Court.

She made an unsuccessful bid in the 2008 Democratic primary for Harrison Superior Court judge, losing to current Judge Roger Davis. More than a decade ago, she was president of a board of directors for House of New Beginnings, Corydon’s first halfway house to help men recovering from drug and alcohol addiction.

Some interesting language from last week's order:
With the [Supreme Court Disciplinary Commission’s] petition and Respondent’s motion still pending, on December 31, 2014, the parties filed an “Agreement to Interim Suspension.” Under the terms of that agreement, Respondent’s law license would be suspended pendente lite but Respondent would not be prohibited from maintaining a presence in a law office during the period of her interim suspension. This provision of the agreement runs contrary to our rule that a suspended attorney “shall not maintain a presence or occupy an office where the practice of law is conducted” following the effective date of suspension. See Admis. Disc. R. 23(26)(b); see also Admis. Disc. R. 23(11.1)(b)(8). Accordingly, the Court rejects the parties’ agreement.

Posted by Marcia Oddi on January 12, 2015 06:42 PM
Posted to Ind. Sup.Ct. Decisions