INDIANAPOLIS | A longtime Lake County defense attorney, who served briefly as East Chicago city judge, has been suspended from practicing law for at least three years for misusing client funds.
The Indiana Supreme Court determined Noah Holcomb Jr. violated numerous professional conduct rules, including charging unreasonable fees, commingling client and attorney funds, taking trust account funds for personal use, failing to pay money a client was entitled to and engaging in conduct prejudicial to the administration of justice.
Holcomb's three-year suspension begins Aug. 2. He was denied automatic reinstatement and must demonstrate remorse and rehabilitation to the court to regain his law license.
Chief Justice Brent Dickson, a Hobart native, said Holcomb's punishment likely would have been more severe had he not reached an agreed settlement with the court's disciplinary commission.
Nevertheless, two of the five justices dissented from the disciplinary ruling because they believed Holcomb should have been disbarred.
Holcomb was appointed interim East Chicago city judge by the Supreme Court in January 2003 to replace Judge Lonnie Randolph, who resigned to run an unsuccessful campaign for mayor.
Two months later, Democratic Gov. Frank O'Bannon picked Eduardo Fontanez Jr. to replace Holcomb and finish Randolph's term as city judge.