February 20, 2013

Always Self-Report Any Guilty Finding

Category: Attorney Discipline | Author: | Share:

Recently, the Indiana Supreme Court issued orders imposing discipline on two attorneys who violated similar ethical rules. The situations are not identical, but contrasting the two teaches an important lesson about what to do if you plead guilty to any crime.

John Nelson is an Indiana attorney whom pled guilty to four misdemeanors over the course of ten years. Three of those convictions were related to OWI offenses, while the fourth was a domestic battery. Mr. Nelson did not report any of these guilty pleas to the Disciplinary Commission, even though the trial court specifically ordered him to do so after the last plea. Mr. Nelson was receiving treatment through JLAP.

Kathryn Janeway also pled guilty to an OWI offense. At the time of her arrest, she was a county prosecutor. However, she reported her arrest and conviction to the Disciplinary Commission. Ms. Janeway was receiving treatment through IU Health.

Mr. Nelson had his license suspended for 180 days (although it was stayed if he successfully completed 36 months of probation). Ms. Janeway received a public reprimand.

The Court clearly wants attorneys with substance abuse problems to receive treatment. However, not all substance abusers are treated equally. These examples demonstrate that self-reporting your problem and seeking treatment will lead to a much more favorable result from the Court.

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