INDIANAPOLIS (WTWO/WAWV) — The Indiana Supreme Court suspended a Knox County attorney’s law license after he tried using his position with the county prosecutor’s office to “exact a personal vendetta against a police detective” and tried to get a female friend’s prison sentence modified.
Joseph W. Burton was serving as chief deputy prosecutor in 2017 when his female friend was arrested on methamphetamine charges in Greene County. After the woman was convicted, Burton used his position to try to get her sentenced modified to home detention at his residence.
He also served as her attorney while still employed with the prosecutor’s office to keep her from talking to Vinceness Police detectives looking into whether or not Burton had traded leniency in criminal matters for sexual contact.
Burton retired in April.
The Court ruled Wednesday that Burton’s actions violated state professional conduct rules for representing a client when there is a conflict of interest and implying he had the ability to influence a government agency or official.
The court also ruled Burton used his position to retaliate against a Vincennes Police detective who was investigated him.
Burton received a 90-day suspension of his law license and was ordered to pay more than $700 in investigative fees and court costs.
A disciplinary hearing is still pending in the Indiana Supreme Court against Knox County Prosecutor Dirk Carnahan.