In the Matter of: Keith A. Henderson, Respondent
PUBLISHED ORDER FINDING MISCONDUCT AND IMPOSING
LORETTA H. RUSH CHIEF JUSTICE.
review of the report of the hearing officer, the Honorable
David L. Pippen, who was appointed by this Court to hear
evidence on the Indiana Supreme Court Disciplinary
Commission's "Verified Complaint for Disciplinary
Action, " and the briefs of the parties, the Court finds
that Respondent engaged in professional misconduct and
imposes discipline on Respondent.
At all relevant times, Respondent was the elected prosecutor
for Floyd County. The charges in this disciplinary action
trace their genesis to the prosecution of David Camm, a
former police officer charged with murdering his wife and two
minor children. Camm twice was convicted, but in each
instance his convictions were reversed on appeal. Camm v.
State, 812 N.E.2d 1127 (Ind.Ct.App. 2004), trans.
denied; Camm v. State, 908 N.E.2d 215 (Ind.
2009) ("Camm II"). Camm ultimately was
acquitted following a third trial in 2013. Respondent
prosecuted the second trial, and he initially continued to
represent the State during proceedings in advance of the
third trial until his removal from the case due to the
conflict of interest described below.
after the jury in the second trial returned a guilty verdict,
Respondent - with the intent to write and publish a book
about the Camm case - entered into an agreement with
"Literary Agent." Thereafter, Respondent continued
to represent the State in post-trial proceedings in the trial
court and assisted the Attorney General during appellate
proceedings in Camm II. In early June 2009, while
Camm II was pending before this Court, Respondent
entered a publication agreement with "Publisher."
After we issued our decision reversing Camm's convictions
and remanding for a third trial, Respondent wrote to Literary
Agent, expressing his belief that "this is now a bigger
story" and asking Literary Agent to seek a "pushed
back time frame" for publication and "to push for
something more out of the contract." However, Publisher
instead elected to terminate the book contract.
the conclusion of appellate proceedings in Camm II,
in December 2009 Respondent refiled murder charges against
Camm, and Camm petitioned for appointment of a special
prosecutor. In January 2011, the trial court denied
Camm's request for a special prosecutor. Camm pursued an
interlocutory appeal, and in November 2011 the Court of
Appeals reversed the trial court and ordered Respondent's
removal from the case. Camm v. State, 957 N.E.2d 205
(Ind.Ct.App. 2011), trans. denied.
the Commission began investigating a disciplinary grievance
filed against Respondent by Camm's counsel. Respondent
retained private counsel to represent him during this
investigation and later submitted six payment vouchers to the
Floyd County Auditor (with his counsel's invoices
attached) seeking reimbursement of his legal fees.
of the Commission's verified complaint, as amended over
Respondent's objection, charged Respondent with
violations of Indiana Professional Conduct Rules 1.7(a)(2),
1.8(d), and 8.4(d), premised on Respondent's conflict
between his duties to the State and his own personal
interests and the impact that conflict had upon the criminal
proceedings against Camm. The hearing officer found
Respondent's conduct violated all three rules, writing
that "[o]nce [Respondent] compromised his independent
judgment by securing his personal interests, he irreversibly
and materially limited his own ability to represent the State
in the prosecution of Camm." (HO's Report at 9).
of the verified complaint charged Respondent with violations
of Professional Conduct Rules 8.4(c) and 8.4(d), premised on
the notion that Respondent misled Floyd County officials into
believing that his requests for reimbursement were for
expenses directly tied to the Camm criminal proceedings
rather than expenses incurred in defending himself personally
against potential disciplinary charges. The hearing officer
found that the Commission failed to sustain its burden of
proof on these two alleged rule violations, citing among
other things an absence of "clear and convincing
evidence that [Respondent's] submissions to Floyd County
were fraudulent, deceitful or misrepresentative of what
[Respondent] was requesting." (HO's Report at 11).
The Commission carries the burden of proof to demonstrate
attorney misconduct by clear and convincing evidence.
See Indiana Admission and Discipline Rule 23(14)(i)
(2016). And while the review process in disciplinary cases
involves a de novo examination of all matters
presented to the Court, a hearing officer's findings
nevertheless receive emphasis due to the unique opportunity
for direct observation of witnesses. See Matter of
Brizzi, 962 N.E.2d 1240, 1244 (Ind. 2012).
considered the parties' arguments regarding the
pre-hearing amendment of Count 1, the various affirmative
defenses raised by Respondent, and the findings and
conclusions made by the hearing officer in his report. We
decline to disturb the hearing officer's decision to
allow the Commission to amend Count 1 in advance of the final
hearing. Upon careful review of the materials before us, we
find sufficient support for the hearing officer's
findings and conclusions with respect to each of the charged
rule violations. Accordingly, we find Respondent violated
Professional Conduct Rules 1.7(a)(2), 1.8(d), and 8.4(d) with
respect to Count 1, and we find in favor of Respondent on
The hearing officer recommended that Respondent receive a
public reprimand. The Commission argues he should be
suspended. The violation is serious and adversely affected
the administration of justice in this case. However, noting
Respondent's misconduct occurred in connection with a
single, unusual case and is an aberration from what otherwise
has been a long and distinguished career as a public servant,
we conclude a suspension is not warranted in this case. Thus,
for Respondent's professional misconduct, the Court
imposes a public reprimand.
costs of this proceeding are assessed against Respondent. The
hearing officer ...