July 1, 2010
Read Before Signing
The Indiana Supreme Court imposed a public reprimand in a matter in which the attorney had secured a deferred prosecution of a Florida battery charge against his then 19 year old son in 2001. The son was arrested in Indiana on a drunk driving charge. The attorney was able to secure a deferred prosecution of that charge without disclosing the Florida matter. The attorney signed an agreement that represented that the son had no prior arrests. He claimed he did not read the agreement he had signed but relied upon past agreements "which, in his experience, did not contain such a statement."
The court found that the attorney, an experienced defense lawyer, made a choice to remain ignorant of the contents of the agreement and was responsible for any errors contained therein. The attorney had been in practice for over 30 years without prior incident.
Do we need to mention again the danger of flawed judgment when representing close family members? (Mike Frisch)
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