Thursday, October 22, 2015
Ind. Courts - "Henderson ethics hearings wrap up"
The focus of Wednesday’s disciplinary hearing was how and when Henderson started talking to a literary agent and whether that was a conflict of interest. Attorneys also focused on the role the Indiana Prosecuting Attorneys Council’s, or IPAC, ethics committee played in Henderson’s actions.
In an email dated March 3, 2006, a literary agency sent a proposed agreement to Henderson "to serve as your exclusive literary agent," according to the complaint. Later that same day, a jury convicted Camm on three counts of first-degree murder for the second time.
Seven days later on March 10, 2006, Henderson signed an agreement with the literary agent. But he and his attorney, Donald Lundberg, argue that the agreement was for representation for a possible book deal in the future, not a contract to write a book.
“Never did I think I was obligated to produce anything I didn’t want to produce,” Henderson testified, adding that he felt he was in control of the agreements.
Then in May 2009, just one month before the Indiana Supreme Court would reverse Camm's second conviction, Henderson allegedly entered into an agreement with a co-author to prepare a manuscript.
Henderson said before signing that agreement, he got permission from the family of Kim Camm, David Camm’s deceased wife.
“Because they are truly the victims. They still are,” Henderson said.
The co-author agreement provided a $10,000 advance to be split between Henderson, the co-author and a publisher. Henderson said he received only a $1,700 advance that was never cashed and later returned.
Henderson also testified that at that time, he was "fairly confident" that the Indiana Supreme Court wasn't going to reverse the second conviction. But on June 26, 2009, the conviction was reversed.
Henderson again filed murder charges against Camm for a third and final trial. In December 2010, after learning of the potential book deal negotiations, Camm's attorneys filed a petition to assign a special prosecutor to represent the state.
“I believed then, based on our analysis, they were not going to be successful in removing me and my office from the case,” Henderson said.
But when he realized the allegations were getting more attention, he wanted to take the issue to the IPAC ethics committee. Henderson, who seemed relaxed throughout the hearings, raised his voice to defend his choice to turn to IPAC.
“I strongly believe in that group to advise prosecuting attorneys in the state of Indiana,” Henderson said. “The fact that you (the disciplinary commission) don’t do that, then we’re left out here to figure it out.”
Henderson said there’s a “gotcha game” mood in Indiana and characterized the relationship with the disciplinary commission as adversarial. He added that he feels he has been publicly “crucified.” Attorney David Hughes represented the disciplinary commission. Hughes said Monday that he would not comment on the case.
“I believe that you examine cases based on the facts,” Henderson said after the hearing. “I don’t believe there was [sufficient proof] in this case. I don’t believe the case should have ever been brought. It’s more of a ‘gotcha game’ instead of working with attorneys.”
Henderson said that if the IPAC ethics committee had told him to remove himself from the third Camm trial, he would have. In fact, he said, he probably would have been relieved. Instead, the committee unanimously agreed that Henderson should remain on the case.
Camm’s motion for a special prosecutor was at first denied by the trial court judge. But in late 2011, an appeals court adopted the motion and Henderson was removed from the case.
"I felt then [and] I feel now that it was a trial tactic to get me off [the case]," Henderson said.
At that time, Henderson said he canceled the book deal agreements. Special Prosecutor Stan Levco represented the state in the third Camm trial. Camm was acquitted of all charges. * * *
THE FINAL SAY
David Pippen, the hearing officer in the disciplinary commission allegations, expects to have the hearings transcribed within 30 days. After that, Lundberg and Hughes will have another 30 days to prepare findings. Pippen will then send a report with his decision to the Indiana Supreme Court. The Supreme Court will hand down the final decision.
“If you start putting all those time frames together, we’re easily in the six-month range before we would hear anything,” Lundberg said. “And that’s probably a conservative [estimate].”
If the disciplinary commission's allegations are upheld, Henderson could be sanctioned to private or public reprimand; suspension from practice for a set period of time; suspension from practice with reinstatement only after proving fitness; or permanent disbarment.
“I’m not worried,” Henderson said. “When you do the right thing … I’m not concerned. I’m more concerned with the [disciplinary commission] process.”
Posted by Marcia Oddi on October 22, 2015 09:40 AM
Posted to Indiana Courts