In the Matter of: Harold E. Bean, Respondent.
RESPONDENT PRO SE Harold E. Bean Indianapolis, Indiana.
ATTORNEYS FOR THE INDIANA SUPREME COURT DISCIPLINARY
COMMISSION G. Michael Witte, Executive Secretary Angie
Ordway, Staff Attorney Indianapolis, Indiana.
that Respondent, Harold E. Bean, engaged in attorney
misconduct. For this misconduct, we conclude that Respondent
should be disbarred.
matter is before the Court on the report of the hearing
officer appointed by this Court to hear evidence on the
Indiana Supreme Court Disciplinary Commission's
"Verified Complaint for Disciplinary Action."
Respondent's 1974 admission to this state's bar
subjects him to this Court's disciplinary jurisdiction.
See Ind. Const. art. 7, § 4.
Background and Facts
was the elected Clerk-Treasurer of the Town of Warren Park.
Over the span of several months in 2014, Respondent stole
$20, 800 from the Town by writing dozens of checks payable to
himself. Respondent was charged with theft and official
misconduct, both Class D felonies, and later pled guilty as
charged. Respondent has been under an order of interim
suspension since October 7, 2015, as a result of his felony
convictions. See Matter of Bean, 53 N.E.3d 402 (Ind.
Commission charged Respondent with violating Indiana
Professional Conduct Rule 8.4(b) by committing criminal acts
that reflect adversely on the lawyer's honesty,
trustworthiness, or fitness as a lawyer. Following a hearing,
the hearing officer filed his report to this Court on June
14, 2016, concluding that Respondent violated Rule 8.4(b) as
charged and recommending that Respondent be disbarred.
petition for review of the hearing officer's report or
brief on sanctions has been filed. When neither party
challenges the findings of the hearing officer, "we
accept and adopt those findings but reserve final judgment as
to misconduct and sanction." Matter of Levy,
726 N.E.2d 1257, 1258 (Ind. 2000). We concur in the hearing
officer's findings of fact and conclude that Respondent
violated Indiana Professional Conduct Rule 8.4(b).
have observed before, criminal action by an attorney in
public office "strikes at the very heart of public trust
in our institutions of government and the legal
profession." Matter of White, 54 N.E.3d 993,
994 (Ind. 2016) (quoting Matter of Gutman, 599
N.E.2d 604, 609 (Ind. 1992)). Such misconduct consistently
has resulted in disbarment or a substantial period of
suspension without automatic reinstatement. See, e.g.,
Matter of Philpot, 31 N.E.3d 468 (Ind. 2015) (following
an interim suspension of over two years, suspending an
elected county clerk convicted of theft and mail fraud for an
additional four years without automatic reinstatement);
Matter of Hughes, 640 N.E.2d 1065 (Ind. 1994)
(disbarring a city court judge convicted of theft and
official misconduct); Matter of Willardo, 493 N.E.2d
466 (Ind. 1986) (disbarring an elected coroner convicted of
theft for fraudulently diverting county funds into his
acknowledge Respondent's acceptance of responsibility,
his efforts to address the ongoing gambling addiction
underlying his misconduct, and his impassioned plea during
proceedings before the hearing officer for a sanction short
of disbarment. However, the seriousness of Respondent's
misconduct, and Respondent's history of attorney and
judicial discipline (the latter of which, significantly, also
included willful misconduct in office),  compel us to
agree with the hearing officer that disbarment is warranted
in this case.
Court concludes that Respondent violated the Rules of
Professional Conduct by committing crimes that reflect
adversely on his honesty, trustworthiness, and fitness as a
lawyer. Respondent already is under an order of interim
suspension as well as a separate suspension order for
nonpayment of dues. For Respondent's professional
misconduct, the Court disbars Respondent from the practice of
law in this state, effective immediately. Respondent shall
fulfill all the duties of a disbarred attorney under
Admission and ...