Indiana Prosecutor Reprimanded for book Deal //Legal Profession Blog
by Michael Frisch
A public reprimand has been imposed by the Indiana Supreme Court
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.
Days 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.
Following 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.
Meanwhile, 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.
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 Count 2.
Count 2 involved alleged false statements in seeking reimbursement.
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.
Wikipedia has information about the Camm criminal case. Mike Frisch)