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Tuesday, March 07, 2017

Ind. Decisions - Supreme Court disbars Fort Wayne attorney

In In the Matter of Donald Edward James, a 4-page, 5-0, per curiam opinion in an attorney disciplinary action, the Court writes:

We find that Respondent, Donald James, committed attorney misconduct by mismanaging his trust account, converting client funds, and failing to cooperate with the disciplinary process. For this misconduct, we conclude that Respondent should be disbarred. * * *

During 2015 Respondent significantly overdrew his attorney trust account on three occasions, regularly commingled personal funds with client funds, made unauthorized cash and check withdrawals from the trust account for his own personal purposes, and failed to maintain adequate trust account records. Respondent also invaded client funds, which resulted in the overdrafts. Respondent largely failed to cooperate with the Commission’s investigation and has failed to participate in these disciplinary proceedings. * * *

Respondent already is under suspension in two other cases for failure to cooperate with the Commission’s investigations. For Respondent’s professional misconduct, the Court disbars Respondent from the practice of law in this state effective immediately. Respondent shall fulfill all the duties of a disbarred attorney under Admission and Discipline Rule 23(26). The costs of this proceeding are assessed against Respondent, and the hearing officer appointed in this case is discharged.

Posted by Marcia Oddi on Tuesday, March 07, 2017
Posted to Ind. Sup.Ct. Decisions

Ind. Decisions - Court of Appeals issues 1 opinion(s) today (and 11 NFP memorandum decision(s))

For publication opinions today (1):

In Don Morris, et al. v. Brad Crain, et al. , a 17-page opinion, Judge Crone writes:

Don Morris and Randy Coakes (collectively “Plaintiffs”) appeal the trial court’s entry of summary judgment in favor of Brad Crain and Richard Redpath (“Crain”). The sole restated issue presented for our review is whether the trial court erred when it entered summary judgment for Crain. Concluding that genuine issues of material fact remain for trial, we reverse and remand for further proceedings.
NFP civil decisions today (3):

Southern Indiana Gas & Electric Company v. Indiana Utility Regulatory Commission, et al. (mem. dec.)

Michael Kelley v. Wendy Kelley (mem. dec.)

Michael D. Fox v. Melissa J. Fox (mem. dec.)

NFP juvenile and criminal decisions today (8):

Ivan Juhan Jones v. State of Indiana (mem. dec.)

Roman Allen v. State of Indiana (mem. dec.)

Warren Curtis III v. State of Indiana (mem. dec.)

Deborah June Harris v. State of Indiana (mem. dec.)

Robert B. Scoggins v. State of Indiana (mem. dec.)

Angela M. Jewell v. State of Indiana (mem. dec.)

Nyesha Lashay Crockett v. State of Indiana (mem. dec.)

Michael Neil Gann v. State of Indiana (mem. dec.)

Posted by Marcia Oddi on Tuesday, March 07, 2017
Posted to Ind. App.Ct. Decisions

Ind. Courts - Motion to remand filed in Groth v. Pence/Holcomb

The ILB has just received this news from Greg Bowes, who represents William Groth in the Pence email case, Groth v. Pence:

In light of new information about Governor Mike Pence’s use of a private email account for official Indiana business, attorney Bill Groth has asked the Indiana Supreme Court to remand his case to the Marion Superior Court for consideration of whether those private email accounts contain information that Groth sought in December, 2014. Because the messages from the private email accounts were only turned over to current-Governor Holcomb on March 2, 2017, Groth worries that those private accounts were not reviewed when he made his 2014 request.

Groth’s appeal to the Indiana Supreme Court is nearly complete. Yesterday, he filed a Reply Brief on Transfer, which represents the final brief allowed before the Supreme Court will decide the case. Groth also asked the Court to conduct oral argument before deciding the case.

Here are links to the Motion to Remand, the Reply Brief on Transfer, and the Request for Oral Argument.

Here is the current docket.

Posted by Marcia Oddi on Tuesday, March 07, 2017
Posted to Indiana Courts

Ind. Law - Still more on "Could Indiana pass forfeiture reform this year?"

Updating this March 2nd ILB post on civil forfeiture, here is the current printing of Senate Bill 8, which has passed the Senate and is now in House Courts and Criminal Code, where it has not yet been set for a hearing.

Some items of interest re civil forfeiture:

Posted by Marcia Oddi on Tuesday, March 07, 2017
Posted to Indiana Law

Ind. Gov't. - "Experts say Indiana’s private university police transparency law has no teeth"

From Student Press Law Center staff writer James Hoyt, this long story from March 3rd that begins:

INDIANA—Margaret Hynds, editor in chief of the Notre Dame Observer, noticed last November that HB 1019, a law former Indiana governor Mike Pence signed, classified private university police departments as public agencies.

So, naturally, the student newspaper requested case documents from the University of Notre Dame Security Police. Notre Dame’s general counsel denied the requests. The Observer filed a complaint with a higher power, Indiana Public Access Counselor Luke Britt. Britt sided with Notre Dame, saying HB 1019’s language was in error and a bill to correct it would soon pass.

A law recently enrolled by the Indiana General Assembly, House Enrolled Act 1022, ostensibly requires private university police departments to release case documents to the public if requested. But experts say the law will still hold private departments to different standards than public ones.

“It really doesn’t make private university police departments generate or retain any kind of documentation they wouldn’t have had to before,” said Britt. Britt calls the law “transparency in name only” but asserts his responsibility to uphold it.

“Nothing’s really changed for us,” Hynds said.

The law comes in the wake of the Indiana Supreme Court’s decision that private university police don’t need to provide records to the public from ESPN’s lawsuit against the University of Notre Dame.

Posted by Marcia Oddi on Tuesday, March 07, 2017
Posted to Indiana Government