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Crime Doesn’t Pay, Even if Your Client Does
Posted in Litigation

One attorney’s “creative” approach to defending his criminal client’s methamphetamine possession charges resulted in a nine-month suspension without automatic reinstatement. In an attempt to prove that an informant was a drug dealer himself, the attorney arranged for two individuals to purchase marijuana from the informant. The attorney informed the individuals that the purchase was above-board. This unorthodox method of impeaching the credibility of a witness didn’t pan out for the client and has possibly ended the attorney’s legal career.

The attorney was found guilty of attempt to possess marijuana, a class-D misdemeanor, and was disqualified from representing his client. The client pled guilty to possession of methamphetamines. The attorney then reappeared for the client, attempting to represent him in a petition for post-conviction relief, but he was again disqualified.

In addition to criminal repercussions, the attorney violated Indiana Rule of Professional Conduct 8.4(b), “Committing a criminal act that reflects adversely on the lawyer’s honesty, trustworthiness or fitness as a lawyer,” and 8.4(d), “Engaging in conduct prejudicial to the administration of justice.” 

The Indiana Supreme Court suspended the attorney for nine months without automatic reinstatement. The Court explained: “Respondent’s illegal attempt at a drug sting without the assistance of law enforcement, aggravated by his complete lack of any insight into his misconduct and his repeated and unfounded attacks on those involved in his criminal case and … disciplinary proceeding, demonstrate Respondent’s need for a substantial period of suspension followed by a rigorous reinstatement proceeding before resuming practice.” The Court’s entire opinion in Cause Number 53S00-1104-DI-244 is available in its entirety here. The Court’s stringent admonishment about the attorney’s conduct makes it likely that any future attempt to regain admission into the Indiana Bar will be met with harsh resistance and will ultimately be unsuccessful. 

To learn more about Meg Christensen and her practice, visit her profile.

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  • Partner

    Meg concentrates her practice in business litigation, attorney ethics, appeals, construction law and media law. Meg has assisted clients and taken leadership roles in litigation in both federal and state courts in claims ...

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