April 21, 2013

Criminal Defense Attorney Suspended For Operating Sting Against Police Informant

Category: Attorney Discipline | Author: | Share:

Last week, the Indiana Supreme Court issued an order disciplining attorney David Schalk for his role in a sting operation aimed at a police informant. The situation described in In re Schalk, ___ N.E.2d ___ (Ind. 2013), Cause No. 53S00-1104-DI-244, is strange, to say the least.

Schalk was a criminal defense attorney and was representing a defendant charged with possession of methamphetamine. Schalk wanted to prove that the State’s confidential informant was a drug dealer and arranged to have his clients voice record a drug buy from the informant. After the purchase, Schalk unsuccessfully tried to arrange with law enforcement to take possession of the purchased drugs.

Schalk himself was charged with felony and misdemeanor possession charges, was found guilty of misdemeanor possession, and his conviction was affirmed. He then faced disciplinary charges.

He did not help himself during the disciplinary process, as the Court noted when describing the facts in aggregation.

(1) Respondent solicited others to commit a criminal act, which put them at risk of arrest or physical danger; (2) Respondent has no appreciation for the wrongfulness of his conduct; (3) Respondent made false statements or statements with reckless disregard for their truth regarding the integrity of the judges of the trial court and Court of Appeals; (4) Respondent’s assertions that his criminal prosecution was based upon vindictiveness by law enforcement authorities is frivolous; and (5) Respondent improperly interfered with the discovery process in the disciplinary proceeding.

The Court suspended Schalk for 9 months and required him to undergo “a rigorous reinstatement proceeding before resuming practice.”

The Court’s description of these proceedings is interesting enough, but Mr. Schalk has given us all unusual insight into the Court’s factual findings. Mr. Schalk has set up a website that includes documents from the disciplinary proceedings, the disciplinary hearing transcript, and commentary. These proceedings are typically confidential, but Mr. Schalk obviously believes that he is in the right.

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