In the Matter of Fronse W. Smith, Jr. Respondent.
Hearing Officer John Tuskey
ATTORNEYS FOR INDIANA SUPREME COURT DISCIPLINARY COMMISSION
G. Michael Witte, Executive Director Larry D. Newman, Staff
Attorney Indianapolis, Indiana.
that Respondent, Fronse Smith, Jr., engaged in attorney
misconduct by committing the crime of intimidation. For this
misconduct, a majority of the Court concludes that Respondent
should be disbarred.
matter is now before us 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 2013 admission to
this state's bar subjects him to this Court's
disciplinary jurisdiction. See IND. CONST. art. 7,
Background and Facts
Commission filed a "Disciplinary Complaint" against
Respondent on November 28, 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.
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).
a phone conversation between Respondent and his estranged
wife on May 29, 2015, Respondent threatened that he "was
going to split [her] chest open with an axe."
Respondent's wife immediately called 911 and drove to a
police station. Meanwhile, Respondent sent his wife a text
message stating that he was going to dispose of and destroy
her property. Respondent drove to his wife's home and was
in the process of entering her home when police arrived on
the scene with his wife. Respondent was uncooperative and
hostile with the officers and told his wife "now
you've really done it, " at which point Respondent
was arrested. An axe was discovered in the passenger seat of
result of these actions, Respondent was convicted of
intimidation, a level 6 felony. The Court of Appeals affirmed
Respondent's conviction in October 2016.
has been under an order of interim suspension since December
15, 2016, as a result of his felony conviction. Matter of
Smith, 64 N.E.3d 837 (Ind. 2016). Respondent also
currently is indefinitely suspended for failure to cooperate
with the Commission's investigation and is
administratively suspended for nonpayment of dues and
noncompliance with continuing legal education requirements.
concur in the hearing officer's findings of fact and
conclude that Respondent violated Indiana Professional
Conduct Rule 8.4(b) by committing a criminal act that
reflects adversely ...