In the Matter of Marjonie D. Gabriel, Respondent.
Discipline Action Hearing Officer Robert C. Reiling
ATTORNEYS FOR RESPONDENT Peter J. Rusthoven Jack L. Stark,
Jr. Indianapolis, Indiana
ATTORNEYS FOR INDIANA SUPREME COURT DISCIPLINARY COMMISSION
G. Michael Witte, Executive Director Angie L. Ordway, Staff
Attorney Indianapolis, Indiana
that Respondent, Marjonie Gabriel, committed attorney
misconduct by knowingly disobeying court orders. For this
misconduct, we conclude that Respondent should be suspended
for 90 days with automatic reinstatement.
matter is before the Court on the report of the hearing
officer appointed by this Court on the Indiana Supreme Court
Disciplinary Commission's verified disciplinary
complaint. Respondent's 2009 admission to this
state's bar subjects her to this Court's disciplinary
jurisdiction. See IND. CONST. art. 7, § 4.
Background and Facts
2008, Respondent left a prosecutorial position in California
and returned to Indiana to care for her father, who was in
deteriorating health. Respondent's father also was in the
midst of a separation from his wife (Respondent's
estranged mother), who was sequestering and possibly
dissipating marital assets. That fall, Respondent's
father executed a power-of-attorney appointing Respondent as
his attorney-in-fact and stating, in part, that Respondent
"shall be entitled to reimbursement for all reasonable
expenses incurred on my behalf and . . . may also be entitled
to reasonable compensation for any services provided."
2010, a guardianship was opened in Hamilton Superior Court
and Respondent was appointed as guardian of her father's
person. In 2012, Respondent was appointed by the guardianship
court as successor guardian of her incapacitated father's
first several years following her return to Indiana,
Respondent expended considerable sums of her own savings on
her father's behalf. During this time Respondent also
experienced significant health issues of her own, resulting
in major medical bills and Respondent's inability to
consistently maintain a law practice in Indiana.
Respondent's personal savings and assets soon were
depleted, and she alternately found herself living
temporarily with friends or out of her own vehicle.
point in late 2013 or early 2014, the guardianship received
about $40, 000 in proceeds from the sale of Respondent's
parents' marital residence. Beginning around the same time,
Respondent made dozens of payments and withdrawals from the
estate to herself without obtaining the requisite court
approval and in violation of a restraining order that had
been issued by the guardianship court. During that period,
Respondent also failed to file required accountings and
failed to comply with several court orders to do so. In early
2016 the guardianship court held Respondent in contempt,
appointed a successor guardian, and again ordered Respondent
to provide an accounting. Respondent did not do so and was
held in contempt again in November 2016. Meanwhile,
Respondent's father passed away in September 2016.
Commission charged Respondent with violating Indiana
Professional Conduct Rule 3.4(c) based on her knowing
disobedience of the guardianship court's orders.
Respondent admitted, and the hearing officer found, that
Respondent violated this rule.
Commission also charged Respondent with violating Rule
8.4(b), based on the Commission's allegations that
Respondent's actions amounted to criminal conversion
and/or exploitation of an endangered adult. The hearing
officer concluded that the Commission had failed to sustain
its burden of proving this charge.