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IN RE: Jacob P. DUNNUCK (2021)

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Supreme Court of Indiana.

IN RE: Jacob P. DUNNUCK, Respondent

Supreme Court Case No. 20S-DI-635

Decided: October 07, 2021

Published Order Approving Statement of Circumstances and Conditional Agreement for Discipline

Pursuant to Indiana Admission and Discipline Rule 23(12.1)(b), the Indiana Supreme Court Disciplinary Commission and Respondent have submitted for approval a “Statement of Circumstances and Conditional Agreement for Discipline” stipulating agreed facts and proposed discipline as summarized below.

Stipulated Facts: Respondent was appointed in September 2017 as public defender for a “Client” charged with battery and other criminal acts. Despite Client's numerous letters to Respondent and to the court expressing his desire for a speedy trial and asking for information about his case, Respondent never wrote back and only rarely met with Client. Without Client's knowledge or consent, Respondent obtained numerous continuances over the course of the next three years, while Client remained incarcerated and unable to meet the bail set in his case. Respondent withdrew his representation of Client in August 2020.

Violations: The parties agree that Respondent violated these Indiana Professional Conduct Rules prohibiting the following misconduct:

1.2(a): Failing to consult with a client about the means of achieving an objective and to abide by a client's decisions concerning the objectives of representation.

1.3: Failing to act with reasonable diligence and promptness.

1.4(a): Failing to keep a client reasonably informed about the status of a matter and respond promptly to reasonable requests for information.

1.4(b): Failing to explain a matter to the extent reasonably necessary to permit a client to make informed decisions.

3.2: Failing to expedite litigation consistent with the interests of a client.

8.4(d): Engaging in conduct prejudicial to the administration of justice.

Discipline: The parties propose the appropriate discipline is a 120-day suspension with automatic reinstatement. The Court, having considered the submissions of the parties, now approves the agreed discipline.

For Respondent's professional misconduct, the Court suspends Respondent from the practice of law for a period of 120 days, beginning November 18, 2021. Respondent shall not undertake any new legal matters between service of this order and the effective date of the suspension, and Respondent shall fulfill all the duties of a suspended attorney under Admission and Discipline Rule 23(26). At the conclusion of the period of suspension, provided there are no other suspensions then in effect, Respondent shall be automatically reinstated to the practice of law, subject to the conditions of Admission and Discipline Rule 23(18)(a).

The costs of this proceeding are assessed against Respondent. With the acceptance of this agreement, the hearing officer appointed in this case is discharged with the Court's appreciation.

All Justices concur.

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