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Indiana Attorney Robert Neary Suspended Four Years for Eavesdropping
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eavesdropping

Summary: A former deputy prosecutor in Indiana has been suspended from practicing law for eavesdropping on confidential conversations between suspects and their attorneys.

A LaPorte County attorney caught a break and will only have to be suspended from practicing law for four years. As a top official in the county’s prosecutor’s office, Robert Neary, listened in on confidential conversations between accused criminals and their attorneys.

  
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The disciplinary commission recommended Neary be disbarred but the Indiana Supreme Court justices noted his lack of prior discipline as a reason to not completely cut off his legal career. The court voted 5-0 to prohibit him from working as a lawyer for four years without automatic reinstatement. His suspension begins December 18.

Neary was the chief deputy prosecutor for LaPorte County in northern Indiana. He was found to have used methods of obtaining evidence that violated the legal rights of a third person as well as engaging in conduct prejudicial to the administration of justice. Neary and several detectives used remote audio and video devices to listen to confidential conversations. One conversation was between homicide suspect Brian Taylor and his attorney when they were in an interview room at the Michigan City police department in 2014. The case against Taylor in the shooting death of his 24-year-old girlfriend Simone Bush is set to go to trial on February 26 after dealing with legal challenges from the eavesdropping.

He also allegedly received the recorded a “defense strategy” meeting in 2012 between an attorney and Long Beach homicide suspect John Larkin. Their conversation was unintentionally taped while they were in a police interview room during a break in the interrogation. The case against Larkin and the shooting death of his wife, 41-year-old Stacey, was later dismissed because rights violations like this that the judge noted happened after his arrest.

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The court ruled, “Respondent’s conduct in both cases fundamentally infringed on privileged attorney-client communications and, at an absolute minimum, has caused significant delays and evidentiary hurdles in the prosecutions of (the suspects), even assuming they still can be prosecuted at all.”

The justices did not want to permanently close the door on his legal career because of his standing within the community and other reasons. He had already resigned from his position as a deputy prosecutor before the court handed down their punishment and placed in an administrative support role. He will no longer be employed by his office now that he is prohibited from working in a place where law is practiced.



Do you think a four-year suspension is harsh or fair for knowingly eavesdropping on a privileged conversation? How should Neary have handled the situation if he did not intend to hear the suspect’s conversation with their attorney? Do you think he meant to hear the conversations? Share your thoughts with us in the comments below.

To learn more about eavesdropping laws and protected conversation legal issues, read these articles:

Photo: overdriveonline.com



 

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