|Disciplinary Commission Executive Secretary,
G. Michael Witte, former Dearborn County Judge, has been named the Indiana Disciplinary Commission Executive Secretary. The Disciplinary Commission is the agency that investigates and prosecutes alleged attorney misconduct. The Indiana Supreme Court approved naming Judge Witte as the agency head, confirming a recommendation from the nine-member Indiana Disciplinary Commission.
Indiana Chief Justice Randall T. Shepard said, “Mike Witte has dedicated his career to public service, and I am pleased he will spend the next chapter of his legal career leading the Disciplinary Commission. He is well known to attorneys across Indiana as thoughtful and fair and energetic.” Those same qualifications were apparent to the Disciplinary Commission who recommended Witte’s appointment. Disciplinary Commission Chair Corinne Finnerty explained, “Judge Witte has a broad range of experience, including a respected national reputation for judicial leadership. We are confident he will use his management skills to ensure the integrity of the Indiana legal profession is maintained.”
When Judge Witte accepted the Executive Secretary position he said, “Indiana attorneys expect and deserve a Commission dedicated to upholding the highest standards of professionalism. I pledge to continue working to maintain the level of excellence our state demands of its attorneys. It is an honor to serve the state and I look forward to working with the investigators and staff as well as the nine-member Commission.”
The majority of Judge Witte’s career was spent serving the Dearborn Superior Court. He was elected to the bench in 1985 and served through 2008. He was the first Asian-American to serve as judge in the state of Indiana. In March 2009, the Supreme Court appointed him to serve as temporary judge of Wayne Superior Court 1. He currently serves as a Senior Judge and dedicates time to national professional associations.
Judge Witte is the chair-elect of the American Bar Association Judicial Division and will become chair of the Division in August. He is an Indiana University School of Law- Indianapolis graduate and a nationally recognized speaker in the field of diversity. He served as a panelist for the American Bar Association program “Achieving a Diverse Judiciary and Its Impact on Public Confidence in the Judicial System.” He also spoke at Harvard Law School for the American Bar Association program “Obtaining and Retaining a Diverse Judiciary.” He served on the Indiana Commission on Courts from 2005-2007 and was named the 2008 Distinguished Asian Alumni by the Indiana University Asian Alumni Association.
The long-time Disciplinary Commission Executive Secretary, Donald Lundberg, retired from the position in December 2009. The nine-member Commission, which includes both lawyers and citizen members, immediately began working to find an appropriate candidate to fill the role of Executive Secretary. The Commission chose to have the entire body play a role in the search, rather than appoint a sub-committee dedicated to the mission.
The Commission received 24 applications and began vetting potential candidates. In February, the Commission reviewed the applications submitted. In March, discussion on the applications continued. The Commission selected approximately ten candidates to interview and the process of meeting with those ten candidates began in April. In May, the Commission selected Judge Witte as the Executive Secretary and the Indiana Supreme Court approved his appointment.
Mr. Witte is expected to begin working in mid-June. As Disciplinary Commission Executive Secretary he will work with agency staff and the nine-member Commission to ensure members of the Indiana bar uphold the Rules of Professional Conduct. He will lead the agency that investigates and prosecutes cases of alleged attorney misconduct. The Indiana Supreme Court has final authority over all attorney discipline cases.