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Tuesday, June 28, 2016

Ind. Decisions - Supreme Court decides two today

In Steven Clippinger v. State of Indiana, an 11-page, 5-0 opinion, Justice Massa writes:

Steven Clippinger murdered his brother and sister-in-law and was sentenced to two terms of life imprisonment without parole, with an additional term of twenty years for his conviction as a serious violent felon in possession of a firearm, all to be served consecutively. Clippinger appeals the sentence only, claiming that the trial court was without statutory authorization to impose consecutive life sentences, and that the trial court’s sentencing order in this case was inadequate. We agree with Clippinger’s second contention, but find the sentence imposed was proper, and thus exercise our appellate prerogative to sentence Clippinger to two consecutive terms of life imprisonment without parole, and affirm the additional consecutive term of twenty years imprisonment for the firearm possession conviction.


In the Matter of Charles P. White is a 4-page, 4-0 (J.Massa not participating) per curiam attorney discipline ruling:

We find that Respondent, Charles P. White, engaged in attorney misconduct. For this misconduct, we conclude that Respondent should be suspended from the practice of law in this state for at least two years without automatic reinstatement. * * *

In the current case, Respondent and the Commission propose that Respondent receive a suspension from the practice of law for a period of at least two years, without automatic reinstatement. Viewed by itself, this would be at the low end of the discipline we have imposed in similar cases. We note, however, that Respondent already has been under interim suspension in this matter for over four years, and in conjunction with the parties’ proposed final discipline Respondent will have served over six years of suspension before he becomes eligible to petition for reinstatement. Moreover, a petition for reinstatement would be granted only if he is able to prove by clear and convincing evidence his fitness to resume the practice of law, a burden that likely will be particularly steep given the seriousness of Respondent’s misconduct. See Gutman, 599 N.E.2d at 608. With these considerations in mind, the Court approves and orders the agreed discipline.

Conclusion. The Court concludes that by virtue of his felony convictions for perjury, voting outside a precinct of residence, and theft, Respondent has violated Indiana Professional Conduct Rules 8.4(b) and 8.4(c). Respondent already is under an order of interim suspension in this case and a separate suspension order for continuing legal education noncompliance. For Respondent’s professional misconduct, the Court suspends Respondent from the practice of law in this state for a period of not less than two years, without automatic reinstatement, beginning on the date of this opinion. At the conclusion of the minimum period of suspension, Respondent may petition this Court for reinstatement to the practice of law in this state, provided Respondent pays all applicable fees and costs, fulfills the duties of a suspended attorney, and satisfies the requirements for reinstatement of Admission and Discipline Rule 23(4) and (18). The costs of this proceeding are assessed against Respondent.

Posted by Marcia Oddi on June 28, 2016 04:46 PM
Posted to Ind. Sup.Ct. Decisions