Legal Ethics

Lawyer, who's also a part-time judge, faces judicial discipline case over conduct with jailed client

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A part-time Indiana judge and practicing attorney is facing a disciplinary case concerning her recent work as a public defender.

While representing an unidentified imprisoned client on appeal, Lisa Traylor-Wolff became sexually involved with the man and participated in inappropriate behavior in a visiting room at the Miami Correctional Facility, the Indiana Commission on Judicial Qualifications contends. In a legal ethics complaint, it accuses Traylor-Wolff, who worked as a senior judge in Fulton and Pulaski counties, of violating disciplinary rules against having a sexual relationship with a client, representing a client in a matter in which there is a significant risk of a material conflict of interest and engaging in activities that might call into question a judge’s independence, integrity or impartiality, according to the Associated Press and WRTV.

The AP article says Traylor-Wolff also represented the client at the trial level.

The articles don’t include any comment from Traylor-Wolff, who apparently hasn’t yet answered the Indianapolis ethics complaint, or Traylor-Wolff’s counsel. Traylor-Wolff did not seek recertification as a senior judge in 2013, according to Fox 59 News .

Although the claimed conduct concerns only to work Traylor-Wolff did as a lawyer, the commission says judicial conduct standards still apply, the station reports.

A special master appointed to hear the case and the state supreme court would have to agree that there has been misconduct before any disciplinary sanction could issue.

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