Stay Current (redux)
Several weeks ago I posted about the lawyer’s duty to Comply with the Rules, all about keeping up on your payment of registration fees and attending mandatory CLE. I should have posted it for Marion County (now) resident Susan Kriesel in 2008.
In 2008 Kriesel, a licensed attorney since 2002, was suspended for both issues, non-payment of dues and failure to comply with MCLE. But so what? She continued to practice, in a firm, for another three + years. Finally caught, she was charged and the Supreme Court Order accepted an agreed discipline she worked out with the Commission.
As punishment she got an indefinite suspension from the practice of law and a $250 fine, plus costs. The court questioned if the agreed punishment was sufficient, and after discussion of the serious consequences to Ms. Kriesel, decided it was sufficient 5-0. It is unlikely Ms. Kriesel will practice again.
In Georgia, a lawyer who was disbarred went on to impersonate another lawyer, and got a year in prison for Identity Theft. Different in some respects, but similar in several ways.
What role did the supervising attorney have in Ms. Kriesel’s case? Nothing appears on the Clerk’s docket at this time to suggest any disciplinary actions are pending. Rule 5.1(a) seems to suggest that certain duties exist for the managing partner, and are implicated over this issue.
Also, no requirement of the refund of fees paid by clients, or of wages Kriesel earned during the three years is in the court’s Order, and no discussion of the Unauthorized Practice of Law issue that seems to be a part of the case. A discussion about UPL would have been a real help to the Indiana Bar.
Taking one for the team
It is tough enough being a public defender. The client Lamarcus Williamson pleaded guilty to a “series of crimes” and when the judge throws the book at him, Williamson throws a sucker punch at his lawyer. And the punched lawyer, Dan Hall, was covering the hearing for Williamson’s real PD, who had a conflict.
So you do a fellow lawyer a favor and get a bloody lip in the process. Thanks Dan for taking one for the team.
Now the Team takes one from the Court Staff
Beginning in 1991 a member of the court staff in Atlanta GA decided to set a misdemeanor criminal file aside, and not set it for follow-up or trial. Twenty years later the stack grew to some 2000 misdemeanor cases. Amazingly nobody (defendant, defense lawyer or prosecutor) noticed or complained that their case had not been resolved.
Most of the files were from 2008-2010, but some were considerably older. Not much the court could do but start setting things for hearing, and to allow prosecutors to dismiss.
Good for a court to have a clean out of the file closets and old file cabinets at least every quarter-century. When was the last time you cleaned out your file drawers?