October 7, 2009
The File Belongs To The Former Client
In a disciplinary matter involving the failure to return a client file, the Indiana Supreme Court imposed a private reprimand. The client had entered a guilty plea to a charge of auto theft. After sentencing, the client renewed an earlier request to see the State's discovery and all other court documents. The lawyer sent only the sentencing order and told the client that he would not "waste a lot of needless time and money sending stuff that's irrelevant for what you're obviously planning to do and that's filing some sort of post-conviction relief..." The lawyer sent a prior PCR decision of the Court of Appeals and advised the client to "read it about 14 times before you file any sort of PCR petition in your case."
The court considered that the file was provided after a grievance had been filed, the absence of prejudice and the attorney's 25 year unblemished record in determining to impose private (but published) discipline. (Mike Frisch)
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