Paul Ogden was just a quintessential Indiana nail.
I used to work for a company that was spun off a major American company. Eventually it was bought by a major Japanese company. During those years I had one particular conversation that stuck with me. One of the representatives of the parent firm said that the reason they liked to collaborate with and buy out Indiana companies was the similarity in the social culture.
That kind of took me by surprise and befuddled me. He went on.
In Japan, he said, there is an old saying that translates to - "the nail that sticks up, gets hammered".
That social culture is what they found here.
Fellow blogger, Paul Ogden, a lawyer who just recently put his law degree on the inactive list, was the nail that stuck up. With regularity he used his blog to expressed his opinions on many things legal - from untoward recruitment practices of law schools, to self-serving methods of certain high power law firms that run the City government contract by contract, to telling the stories of unpowerful people caught up in the powerful legal system.
He cared enough to say out loud what other lawyers just mumble under their breath, if they notice at all.
Ogden was the nail that stuck up.
In a complaint jumped on by the so-called Disciplinary Commission, running its course over the last couple of years, powerful enemies tried to just push him out. They waved around an email, making claims of ex parte communications and (GASP !) criticism of a Judge. They piled on accusations.
He pressed on, taking it all the way to the Indiana Supreme Court.
The Court sided with Ogden on all the major points.
As blogger and lawyer, Gary Welsh, put it
Nonetheless, the Supreme Court in an opinion written by Chief Justice Brent Dickson issued a 30-day suspension rather than a public reprimand because it found Ogden had been "obstreperous" rather than "cooperative" during the matter, which essentially means he contested the charges brought against him.The Court, while siding with Ogden on 80% of the matters, crippled him with an unitemized and onerous bill of $10,000. Faint praise.
The image of the Disciplinary Commission is toast at this point, as far as I'm concerned. They ignore real legal rogues all the time. They chose, instead, to hammer Ogden.
The Court's image isn't doing all that much better. Any citizen would hope they were somehow elevated. But, they don't seem to be.
They have done nothing to rein in the excesses of the Disiplinary Commission and managed to accomplish the very end desired by the Commission, by invoking a sort of debtors prison from which Ogden could not escape.
The Court just picked a different hammer to deal with the nail that stood up.
In the end, Ogden can hold his head up. The others, should they have a conscience, cannot.