Friday, August 16, 2013

Resigned

The Indiana Supreme Court accepted the resignation of an attorney in lieu of further disciplinary proceedings.

The Evansville Courier-Press has the story:

A Gibson County attorney convicted of criminal charges submitted his resignation from practicing law Tuesday rather than face a disciplinary hearing.

William R. Wallace III, tendered his resignation in open court before hearing officer Knox County Superior Court Judge Timothy Crowley, said Michael Witte, executive director of the Indiana Supreme Court Disciplinary Commission.

Witte said the court must still approve Wallace’s request, which typically takes from 12 to 24 months. If it is rejected then he would still face a disciplinary hearing.

The Disciplinary Commission has charged Wallace with violating three Rules of Professional Conduct: making an unsolicited, in-person contact for purposes of professional employment; having a sexual relationship with a current client; and committing a criminal act that reflects adversely on the lawyer’s honesty, trustworthiness or fitness as a lawyer in other respects.

Wallace, a one-time candidate for Gibson County prosecutor, pleaded guilty to felony charges of obstructing justice and possession of child pornography in October 2011.

In April 2012, Gibson County Superior Curt Judge Earl Penrod sentenced Wallace to 15 months in prison after he pleaded guilty to violating probation conditions on those charges and to an additional charge of voyeurism. He was released April 23, according to Indiana Department of Correction records.

Although Wallace will be able to seek reinstatement after five years, Witte said he won’t escape the discipline charges.

"Essentially they would be resurrected. Whatever disciplinary matters that were being faced would be reinstated at that time. It’s a pretty steep burden. Resignation is just short of disbarment," he said.

He said resignation is still considered a disciplinary status and does not equate to the good-standing of other law license statuses in Indiana such as retirement, voluntary withdrawal or temporary inactivity.

"It means a person was either charged with ethical violations or was under investigation for ethical violations and said, 'I can’t defend myself with these (allegations), I resign,'" Witte said.

Wallace was indicted in June 2010 after a former client claimed he recorded her sexual encounter with him without her consent. The woman said Wallace suggested he would forgive her legal fees in exchange for sex. She said she learned of the recordings after Wallace showed them to her boyfriend.

Wallace pleaded guilty and was sentenced to the child pornography and obstruction of justice charges in October 2011 and was sentenced to 18 months of electronic home detention and probation, and ordered to register as a sex offender. He pleaded guilty to the probation violations and voyeurism charges in April 2012.

(Mike Frisch)

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