March 24, 2014

Violation Of Separation Of Witnesses Order Merits Discipline

Category: Attorney Discipline | Author: | Share:

The Indiana Supreme Court sent a message to the bar in In re DeVane, ___ N.E.3d ___ (Ind. March 20, 2014), Cause No. 49S00-1308-DI-511: a violation of a separation of witnesses order may get you disciplined, and an intentional violation may get you suspended.

Ms. DeVane represented a client in a bond revocation hearing. The judge entered a separation of witnesses order. After the victim’s sons testified, a prosecutor heard Ms. Devon tell the defense witnesses what the State’s witnesses said. Ms. DeVane defended herself by stating that she did not believe that the witnesses she spoke with would be called to testify when she told them about the earlier testimony.

Ms. DeVane and the Disciplinary Commission entered into a conditional agreement for discipline, proposing a public reprimand, and the Court accepted this recommendation. But it warned us that it “would likely have concluded this discipline to be inadequate had Respondent’s violation of the separation of witnesses order been intentional.”

Separation of witnesses orders are nothing to be trifled with. Violate them at your peril.

Lessons:

  1. An unintentional violation of a separation of witnesses order may result in a public reprimand.
  2. An intentional violation of a separation of witnesses order may result in a license suspension.

Learn more about Brad and contact us