(CBS/AP) INDIANAPOLIS - A northern Indiana lawyer who's also a part-time judge was accused Monday of having an inappropriate relationship with a client while she was his public defender.
The Indiana Commission on Judicial Qualifications filed disciplinary charges against Logansport attorney Lisa Traylor-Wolff for allegedly engaging in "sexual relations" with a client, violating the rules of professional conduct of an attorney and the code of judicial conduct.
On Sept. 6, 2011, Traylor-Wolff was appointed to be the public defender for a 26-year-old man who was accused of burglary, robbery and felony confinement. The disciplinary charges don't name the man, but give the initials S.W. and the case number. Court records indicate it is a man named Scott Wampler of Peru, who was sentenced to 30 years in prison.
Traylor-Wolff continued to represent Wampler as he appealed his conviction and allegedly developed a more personal relationship with him, giving him books, making cash deposits to his prison account, sending him personal emails and completing Bible study with him.
The two allegedly developed a romantic relationship in May 2012. The disciplinary charges said she kissed Wampler three times at the Miami Correctional Facility, including once while sitting on his lap. Traylor-Wolff and Wampler reportedly met in a private attorney-client visitation room at the prison on June 15, 2012 and correctional officers observed them at the end of the meeting "engaged in excessive fondling with intent to sexually gratify over the clothing."
The charges said that contact "meets the definition of 'sexual relations'" as defined under the Indiana Rules of Professional Conduct. Wampler was written up for the incident and, following a hearing, was sanctioned with a loss of jail credit time, according to the charges.
Traylor-Wolff has 20 days to respond to the charges. The Indiana Supreme Court will then appoint three masters to conduct a public hearing.
The state Supreme Court has final authority over discipline. If she is found to have violated any court rules, Traylor-Wolff could face sanctions ranging from a reprimand to a permanent ban on holding a judicial office in Indiana.
Traylor-Wolf served as a judge in the Pulaski/Fulton county courts from 1991-93 and as Pulaski Superior Court judge from 1994-2000. In Indiana, senior judges work on a part-time basis filling-in for trial court judges and are allowed to have clients. Full-time judges are not.