Holovachka, In re

Decision Date11 May 1964
Docket NumberNo. 30257,30257
Citation198 N.E.2d 381,245 Ind. 483
PartiesIn the Matter of Disbarment of Metro HOLOVACHKA, Defendant.
CourtIndiana Supreme Court

Robert J. Downing, Chicago, Ill., for defendant.

Edwin K. Steers, Atty. Gen. of Indiana, Robert W. McNevin, Asst. Atty. Gen., John H. Hirschman, Deputy Atty. Gen., Indianapolis, for the State of Indiana.

LANDIS, Chief Justice.

This is an original action for disbarment of Metro Holovachka, a practicing attorney of Gary, Indiana, and a former prosecuting attorney of the 31st Judicial Circuit, Lake County, Indiana. The action was brought pursuant to Rules 3-21 and 3-22 of this Court and was instituted by the Northwest Indiana Crime Commission Inc. after obtaining leave of Court, 1 and prosecuted by the attorney general of Indiana pursuant to the directive of this Court. The defendant Holovachka by way of response filed a pleading in substance denying the material allegations of the information.

The Hon. Newell A. Lamb, Judge of the Newton Circuit Court, was appointed as Commissioner to hear the evidence and report his findings of fact and recommendation. The hearing was held and the Commissioner has filed his findings of fact and recommendation, finding that the said Holovachka has violated his oath as an attorney and as a member of the bar of this state as to charges 1, 2, 5 and 6 preferred against him, and recommending that Holovachka's name be forever stricken from the roll of attorneys licensed to practice law in the State of Indiana.

As the defendant's counsel has questioned the sufficiency of the evidence to sustain the first two (2) specific charges preferred against him in this cause, in the interest of brevity those two (2) charges and the evidence bearing thereon will be considered together.

The first specific charge against Holovachka with the Commissioner's finding is as follows:

'i. * * * That Metro Holovachka was prosecuted by the United States of America upon three (3) separate counts of indictment returned by a Federal Grand Jury charging Metro Holovachka with wilfully evading his federal income tax for the years 1955, 1956 and 1957 by filing false and fradulent [sic] tax returns.

'Said charge is contained in rhetorical paragraphs 5, 6, 7 and 8 of the Original Verified Information.

'The Commissioner finds that Metro Holovachka was indicted and convicted by a jury on each of the three counts of the indictment and sentenced by the United States District Court, Northern District, Hammond Division, for a term of three years and assessed a fine thereon in the sum of $10,000.00. That said conviction remains in force and effect and has not been reversed or modified although having been appealed to the United States Supreme Court.

'That said conviction is based upon evidence tending to and which did show that said defendant, during his tenure as prosecuting attorney for the 31st Judicial Circuit of the State of Indiana, more particularly during the years 1955 through 1957, did fail to report and pay to the United States Government taxes upon the income he received, which aggregate income was $179,543.00 over and above the amount of income that said defendant actually reported to the United States Government.

'The above stated sums of money came to the defendant by way of cash transactions for which no explanation was given, and the Commissioner finds that said sums of money came to the said defendant by way of 'pay-offs', 'protection', 'kick-backs' and 'bribes' to Metro Holovachka in return for the use of his office to support and protect gambling and vice interests in Lake County, Indiana, which County comprises the 31st Judicial Circuit of the State of Indiana.

'The Commissioner finds in this regard that Metro Holovachka was convicted of a felony and that he has violated his oath as an officer of the Courts of the State of Indiana and also his oath and duties as a prosecuting attorney in and for the 31st Judicial Circuit of the State of Indiana.

'As a part of said conviction for income tax evasion the Commissioner has tendered to the Supreme Court of Indiana a document showing that Metro Holovachka has been ordered to surrender himself to the United States Marshal at Hammond, Indiana on Monday, June 24, 1963, for the hearing of sentence on said conviction. Moreover, your Commissioner finds that said conviction is final in every respect and has tendered to the Court certified copies of the Order of the Supreme Court of the United States dated June 10, 1963 denying Mr. Holovachka's Petition for a Writ of Certiorari and an Order of said Court dated June 17, 1963 denying Mr. Holovachka's Petition for Rehearing in said Court.'

The defendant argues that his conviction for income tax violation does not involve moral turpitude and that there is not a scintilla of evidence or one word of testimony in the record to support the Commissioner's finding that the defendant took 'pay-offs', 'protection', 'kick-backs', and 'bribes'.

Defendant's argument is apparently based upon his contention there is a lack of direct evidence of 'pay-offs', 'bribes', etc., received by him and that in the absence of such direct evidence there is no causal connection between Holovachka's position as prosecutor for the 31st Judicial Circuit (Lake County), and his accumulation of vast sums of money, viz: $327,724.27 during the same period and the quantity of vice and gambling in the county.

The second specific charge against Holovachka with the Commissioner's finding is as follows:

'II. * * * That Metro Holovachka, during his tenure as prosecuting attorney for the 31st Judicial Circuit of Indiana, failed and refused to prosecute those persons guilty of violating the laws of the State of Indiana as those laws relate to vice and gambling in said state and particularly with respect to Lake County, Indiana, all of which is contrary to his sworn oath to uphold the laws of the State of Indiana.

'Said charges are contained in rhetorical paragraphs 8, 9, 10, 11, 15 and 18 of the Original Verified Information.

'The Commissioner finds that Metro Holovachka did, by a conscious and deliberate course of conduct, during his tenure as prosecuting attorney as hereinbefore stated, use the influence and power of his office to further spread the gambling and vice operations in Lake County, Indiana.

'It is further found that violations of the law were known to him and that by a designed course of conduct he actually aided and abetted the establishment of a syndicated gambling operation in Lake County, Indiana, enabling those violating the law to reap substantial profits in the gambling type pin-ball operations and in the operation of so-called policy wheels.

'The Commissioner further finds that by the use of the defendant's office he destroyed the organization of Local No. 1 of the Automatic Equipment and Coin Machine Operators' Service and Repairmen's Union.

'Your Commissioner further finds that during the defendant's tenure as said prosecuting attorney, prostitution was permitted to operate openly and notoriously in Lake County, Indiana, and that one John Formusa, owning and operating the M & J Motel and personally known to said defendant, reported net income to the Federal Government amounting to $144,000.00 for the years 1955 through 1957, all of which income came exclusively from the operation of the house of prostitution known as the M & J Motel in Lake County, Indiana.

'It is further found that Metro Holovachka consorted with and used the influence of his office and position to assist gambling interests in securing favors from other departments of local government; that he attempted to intimidate and pressure a member of the Lake County Planning Commission and Board of Zoning Appeals into voting favorably on a zoning variance request by such gambling interests, and upon failure to receive a favorable ruling or to prevent such member from inspecting and investigating the operation of such gambling business, the said Metro Holovachka attempted to solicit a bribe from said official; that in failing to solicit such bribe from such official, the said Holovachka brought about the indictment and ultimate prosecution and conviction of the said public official.

'The Commissioner further finds that Metro Holovachka used the power of his office to nolle prosque [sic] indictments against public officials who had been indicted by a grand jury prior to said defendant's election to office and that said indictments charged said officials with misconduct and malfeasance in office in that they permitted gambling to operate openly and notoriously in the communities in Lake County, Indiana. All of said indictments were returned prior to the commencement of Metro Holovachka's term of office as prosecuting attorney and said indictments were dismissed the day following the day said defendant took said office, said dismissals being dated January 2, 1953.

'Your Commissioner finds that Charge II is amply sustained by the testimony of Mr. Richard Sinclair, Mr. Gilbert Sellers, Mr. George Lindberg, Mr. Delbert P. Hopkins, Mr. Harold Swain, Mr. John Testo, Mr. Louis Lindinger, Mr. Joe Petrunich and Mr. Frank Witecki.'

The defendant's counsel argues the evidence in no way substantiates the findings of the Commissioner as to this charge, for the reason that the mere fact there was vice and gambling in Lake County does not necessarily connect the defendant-prosecuting attorney with the same, nor mean that the defendant used his office to aid or abet such criminal activity.

We shall now proceed to a consideration of the evidence introduced in support of charges 1 and 2.

At the outset it is to be noted that it is unquestioned as found by the Commissioner that Holovachka was convicted by the United States District Court of wilfully evading his federal income tax for three (3) years, to-wit: 1955, 1956 and 1957 by filing false and fraudulent returns.

The witness Richard Sinclair, an...

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9 cases
  • Cincinnati Ins. Co. v. Wills
    • United States
    • Indiana Supreme Court
    • October 6, 1999
    ... ... Fletcher Trust Co., 220 Ind. 202, 207, 41 N.E.2d 140, 141 (1942). See also Professional Adjusters, Inc. v. Tandon, 433 N.E.2d 779, 783 (Ind. 1982) ... The license to practice law "is a privilege rather than a natural or vested right." In re Holovachka, 245 Ind. 483, 510, 198 N.E.2d 381, 394 (1964) (citing In re Harrison, 231 Ind. 665, 667, 109 N.E.2d 722, 723 (1953) ). Thus, as Chief Judge Benjamin Cardozo wrote, "`Membership in the bar is a privilege burdened with conditions.'" People ex rel. Karlin v. Culkin, 248 N.Y. 465, 470, 162 N.E ... ...
  • Grow v. Indiana Retired Teachers Community, 169A15
    • United States
    • Indiana Appellate Court
    • June 29, 1971
    ... ... Failure to cite authority in support of an argument is deemed a waiver under Rule 2--17(h), 2 Rules of the Supreme Court of Indiana. Norton v. Cooley (1970), Ind.App., 257 N.E.2d 323, 20 Ind.Dec. 700; In re Disbarment of Holovachka (1964), 245 Ind. 483, 198 N.E.2d 381 (Cert. denied 379 U.S. 974, 85 S.Ct. 665, 13 L.Ed.2d 565) ...         Notwithstanding that fact, to accept the facts as stated in such argument would require this court to view the evidence in a light most favorable to appellant. The law of Indiana is ... ...
  • Craven, Matter of
    • United States
    • Indiana Supreme Court
    • May 30, 1979
    ... ... review by this Court. See, In re Wood (1976), 265 Ind. 616, 358 N.E.2d 128; In re Smith (1976), 266 Ind. 6, 351 N.E.2d 1; In re Bradburn (1966), 248 Ind. 29, 221 N.E.2d 885; In re Holovachka (1964), 245 Ind. 483, 198 N.E.2d 381. It is through this complete examination of all matters that this Court makes its ultimate findings of fact upon which a determination of misconduct is weighed. The findings of the Hearing Officer thus are reviewed within this Court's consideration of all ... ...
  • Jay v. State, 30593
    • United States
    • Indiana Supreme Court
    • April 19, 1965
    ... ... Holovachka (1964), Ind., 198 N.E.2d 381, 394. There was no showing here by appellant that he was harmed by the trial court's ruling and we must conclude the denial of the motion for continuance was not reversible error ...         Appellant next urges that it was error for the court to reject ... ...
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1 books & journal articles
  • Faithful Execution in the Fifty States
    • United States
    • University of Georgia School of Law Georgia Law Review (FC Access) No. 57-2, 2023
    • Invalid date
    ...the laws shall never be suspended, except by the authority of the General Assembly."); see also supra Part IV.A. 296. In re Holovachka, 198 N.E.2d 381, 391 (Ind. 1964).297. See supra note 147-149 and accompanying text. 298. See, e.g., Wright, supra note 15, at 840 (disputing the existence o......

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