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In re White

Supreme Court of Indiana

September 5, 2017

In the Matter of: Beau J. White, Respondent.

         Attorney Discipline Action Hearing Officer R. Scott Hayes

          No Appearance for the Respondent

          Attorneys for the Indiana Supreme Court Disciplinary Commission G. Michael Witte, Executive Director Julie E. Bennett, Staff Attorney Indianapolis, Indiana

          Per Curiam

         We find that Respondent, Beau White, committed attorney misconduct in connection with his representation of a client and by failing to cooperate with the disciplinary process. For this misconduct, we conclude that Respondent should be suspended for at least three years without automatic reinstatement.

         This 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 Disciplinary Complaint." Respondent's 1999 admission to this state's bar subjects him to this Court's disciplinary jurisdiction. See Ind. Const. art. 7, § 4.

         Procedural Background and Facts

         The Commission filed a "Verified Disciplinary Complaint" against Respondent on March 8, 2017. Respondent was served with the complaint but has not appeared, responded, or otherwise participated in these proceedings. Accordingly, the Commission filed a "Motion for Judgment on the Complaint, " and the hearing officer took the facts alleged in the disciplinary complaint as true.

         No petition for review of the hearing officer's report 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).

         Count 1. Respondent was hired to represent "Client 1" in a criminal case. Thereafter, Respondent did very little work on the case, was unable to be reached by Client 1 until immediately prior to trial, and appeared on the morning of trial with very little material. Client 1 indicated to the judge she was not comfortable proceeding with Respondent and explained why. The judge continued the matter even though a jury panel was waiting outside the courtroom. The judge also filed a request for investigation of Respondent with the Commission. Respondent failed to timely respond to the Commission's inquiries during that investigation, leading to the initiation of show cause proceedings.

         Count 2. Respondent was hired to represent "Client 2" with respect to paternity and child support issues. Client 2 was unable to reach Respondent after the retainer was paid. Eventually, Client 2 filed a request for investigation of Respondent with the Commission. Respondent failed to timely respond to the Commission's inquiries, leading to the initiation of additional show cause proceedings.[1]

         The hearing officer cited as aggravating factors Respondent's disciplinary history and his substantial experience in the practice of law, found no evidence in mitigation, and recommended that Respondent be suspended without automatic reinstatement.

         Discussion

         We concur in the hearing officer's findings of fact and conclude that Respondent violated these Indiana Professional ...


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