Friday, December 22, 2017
A suspension of at least 90 days has been ordered by the Indiana Supreme Court
Respondent agreed to represent “Client” in an appeal from the denial of Client’s petition to expunge her misdemeanor theft conviction. Respondent supervised a pro bono expungement clinic sponsored by Ivy Tech and staffed by students, but Respondent had never done an appeal. Respondent filed a notice of appeal in September 2015, and notice of completion of the transcript was filed in November 2015, making an appellant’s brief due in December 2015.
Respondent did not timely file an appellant’s brief. Thereafter, Client emailed Respondent several times to inquire about the status of her appeal. Twice, Respondent replied by falsely implying that a brief had been filed.
In March 2016, an entry was made on the online appellate docket indicating the appeal was being transmitted for dismissal due to the failure to file an appellant’s brief. Client saw this entry and emailed Respondent, demanding an explanation and a file-marked copy of the brief Respondent claimed to have filed. Respondent did not promptly reply to this email. Instead, Respondent tendered to the Court of Appeals a motion for leave to file the appellant’s brief belatedly. In that motion, Respondent falsely stated that he had prepared an appellant’s brief “which was to be appended to transcript and notice of appeal but was apparently not attached.” This tender was defective for multiple reasons and was not accepted by the Clerk for filing.