Ex-Prosecutor Cooper Suspended After Guilty Pleas


IL for www.theindianalawyer.com

Former Johnson County Prosecutor Bradley Cooper has been suspended from the practice of law in Indiana after being sentenced on three felony domestic battery charges last month.

The Indiana Supreme Court suspended Cooper on Friday after the Supreme Court Disciplinary Commission requested the suspension in July. Cooper was sentenced July 17 to three felonies and one misdemeanor stemming from a March domestic violence incident in which he is alleged to have struck his fiancee, confined her and pretended to be her in text messages.

Hancock Superior Judge Dan Marshall, serving as special judge, sentenced Cooper to an aggregate 540 days of probation after the former prosecutor’s guilty pleas to Level 6 felony counts of criminal confinement, identity deception and official misconduct, as well as a Class A misdemeanor count of domestic battery. Cooper can petition to convert the criminal confinement count to a misdemeanor after three years, while the official misconduct count was entered as a Class A misdemeanor under alternative misdemeanor sentencing.

Cooper resigned from his elected position the same day as his sentencing, and his chief deputy, Joe Villanueva, was sworn in as interim prosecutor that afternoon. The Johnson County Republican Party will meet Aug. 15 to pick Cooper’s permanent successor, who will serve out the rest of his elected term through 2022.

Cooper’s suspension remains in effect until further order of the court, or until resolution of any disciplinary action. He has previously been publicly reprimanded for comments he made to the media expressing frustration about a special judge granting post-conviction relief to a convicted Johnson County murderer.

The former prosecutor was suspended pursuant to Indiana Admission and Discipline Rule 23, Section 11.1(a). In a response to the commission’s suspension request, Cooper said he did not dispute any allegations. He is being represented by attorneys James Bell and Stephanie Grass of Paganelli Law Group.