Former Indiana Secretary of State Charlie White might never be allowed to practice law again, the Indiana Supreme Court suggested Tuesday in extending his suspension for at least another two years.
The court issued an opinion that accepted the discipline White had worked out with the Indiana Disciplinary Commission after he was convicted in 2012 of felony perjury, voting outside a precinct of residence, and theft.
“It goes without saying that we hold a particularly dim view of attorney misconduct involving dishonesty, theft, or similar criminal conduct by public officials,” the court wrote.
“In the current case, Respondent and the Commission propose that Respondent receive a suspension from the practice of law for a period of at least two years, without automatic reinstatement. Viewed by itself, this would be at the low end of the discipline we have imposed in similar cases. We note, however, that Respondent already has been under interim suspension in this matter for over four years.
“(A) petition for reinstatement would be granted only if he is able to prove by clear and convincing evidence his fitness to resume the practice of law, a burden that likely will be particularly steep given the seriousness of Respondent’s misconduct,” the justices wrote.
White’s conduct violated Indiana Professional Conduct Rules 8.4(b) and 8.4(c), committing a criminal act that reflects adversely on the lawyer's honesty, trustworthiness or fitness as a lawyer; and conduct involving dishonesty, fraud, deceit or misrepresentation. The court was unanimous except for Justice Mark Massa, who did not participate.
White began serving a year of home detention for his crimes in October.