FOR THE RESPONDENT FOR THE INDIANA SUPREME COURT
I. Marshall Pinkus Donald R. Lundberg, Executive Secretary
710 Century Building
Seth Pruden, Staff Attorney
36 South Pennsylvania St.
115 West Washington Street, Ste. 1060
Indianapolis, IN 46204 Indianapolis, IN 46204
IN THE MATTER OF )
) Case No. 49S00-9705-DI-297
MICHAEL A. FLEENER )
The respondent, Michael A. Fleener, has admitted stealing $11,000 from Child Advocates,
Inc., while acting as its Executive Director. Today we are asked to accept an agreement to suspend
his license to practice law for at least two years for that misconduct.
The respondent was admitted to practice law in Indiana on October 15, 1990, and, therefore, is subject to the disciplinary authority of this Court. He and the Indiana Supreme Court Disciplinary Commission have tendered a Statement of Circumstances and Conditional Agreement for Discipline in which the following facts are admitted.
In 1995, while serving as the executive director of Child Advocates, Inc., a not-for-profit organization operating in Indianapolis, the respondent used $3,893.05 of the agency's funds for a
down payment on a personal vehicle. On April 17, 1996, he took $2,000 in agency funds for the
purported purpose of buying a computer for the agency but instead retained the funds for personal
use. On May 25, 1996, a burglary was reported at Child Advocates, Inc., and the respondent falsely
reported to the police that the non-existent computer allegedly purchased the previous month had
Police discovered the respondent's deceit, and he was charged in the Marion Superior Court in June 1996 with two counts of theft, a class D felony, and one count of false informing, a class B misdemeanor. He entered into a plea agreement under which he agreed to plead guilty to theft in exchange for the dismissal of the two remaining charges. He was sentenced to 365 days in jail, with 185 days suspended and 180 days to be served on home detention. He also was sentenced to 180 days probation and ordered to pay restitution to Child Advocates, Inc.
On the basis of that conviction, this Court suspended the respondent pendente lite on July 1, 1997. The Disciplinary Commission filed its Verified Complaint for Disciplinary Action December 5, 1997, alleging the respondent's commission of the theft and false reporting violated Ind.Professional Conduct Rule 8.4(b), which establishes as misconduct a lawyer's commission of criminal acts that reflect adversely on the lawyer's honesty, trustworthiness or fitness to practice law in other respects. The complaint further alleged that the respondent violated Prof. Cond.R. 8.4(c), which prohibits attorneys from engaging in conduct involving dishonesty, fraud, deceit or misrepresentation. The respondent admits these violations.
We find that the respondent violated both Prof.Cond.R. 8.4(b) and 8.4(c) through his criminal conduct. Accordingly, we must determine what sanction is appropriate under these circumstances.
Shepard, C.J., and Sullivan, Selby, and Boehm, JJ., concur.
Dickson, J., dissents and would disbar the respondent.
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