Litigating Under the Influence

A Seymour County defense attorney will be in need of his own defense after he appeared to be under the influence during court proceedings in Shelby County, Indiana, reported the IndyStar. The attorney, who has been a member of the Indiana bar since 1981, appeared to be drunk during court proceedings on September 8, 2014. The police statement asserts that a witness claimed that the same attorney “almost ran her off the roadway on his way to the court house.” Further, a staff member of the court stated that the attorney had previously touched her inappropriately multiple times and that he smelled of alcohol.

During the proceedings, Judge Riggins found the attorney to be in contempt of the court and ordered that he be tested for alcohol in his system. The police statement claims that the attorney, who seemed to have problems keeping his balance, failed the alcohol test on three separate occasions and ultimately blew a blood alcohol level of 0.154. This certainly indicated that the attorney was not only under the influence during Court Proceedings but also was over the 0.08 Blood Alcohol Level maximum allowed in Indiana while driving to the courthouse.

The attorney was ultimately arrested and faces multiple charges including operating a vehicle while intoxicated with endangerment, operating a vehicle with a BAC greater than 0.15 percent, operating a vehicle while intoxicated and public intoxication. This is only the beginning of what could be a very long week for this attorney as he could also face a multitude of Ethics violations and runs the risk of being severely disciplined by the state of Indiana.

The attorney’s alleged actions violate Indiana Rules of Professional Conduct, Rule 8.4(b), Misconduct, which states that it is professional misconduct when a lawyer commits a criminal act that reflects adversely on the lawyer’s honesty, trustworthiness or fitness as a lawyer in other respects. He also likely violated Indiana Rule 1.1, Competence, which states that a lawyer shall provide competent representation to a client. It doesn’t matter how “confident and competent” a lawyer may feel when inebriated, that lawyer is in no position to provide adequate representation.

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