Sunday, February 13, 2011
In a case that otherwise would "warrant a sanction in the lowest range," the Indiana Supreme Court imposed a suspension of not less than 180 days without automatic reinstatement.
What upped the ante? In a word...attitude.
The attorney sent a letter to a prospective client in Indiana based on a news article concerning a serious motor accident. The soliciation failed contain the words "Advertising Material" and touted the attorney's prior successes. The letter (and his web page) held out his ability to practice in Indiana although he practices primarily in Michigan.
His Indiana license has been inactive since August 2009, although the letter was sent during a period when he had an active Indiana license.
The court rejected constitutional challenges to the solicitation charges. The court also rejected the contention that it lacked jurisdiction and was required to apply Michigan law. Then , the court quotes the attorney's brief:
My experience with the Indiana attorney discipline system is a hideous aberration of justice: a Disciplinary Commission and staff attorney with a self-image of pompous arrogance; a hearing officer who permits herself to be used as a rubber stamp...
The court continues:
Similar examples [only a portion of which are recounted above] can be found on nearly every page of Respondent's briefs to this Court and to the hearing officer, as well as in his correspondence to counsel for the Commission and in his testimony before the hearing officer. The hearing officer noted Respondent's invectives against the Commission's former executive secretary ("a first-class ass"), the Commission ("soft and lazy"), the disciplinary process ("a modern day version of the Star Chamber, a Salem witch hunt, or a Spanish Inquisition"), and this Court's disciplinary rules ("frivolous and antiquated," "rules of behavior conceived over cigars and brandy...during the late Victorian Era by a group of self-impressed lawyers"), as well as his repeated use of caustic terminology (e.g. "despicable," "deceptive and ridiculous," "naked stupidity," "cutesy and evasive")...[he] is totally non-repentant...near the end of his testimony before the hearing officer, he went into great detail describing how he would essentially do it all over again, at least for a Michigan resident.
The title to the post comes from a 1970 song. (Mike Frisch)