August 8, 2008
Dangers Of Self-Representation
A complaint filed by the Illinois ARDC alleges that intemperate conduct by an attorney representing herself in matters related to a marriage dissolution violated ethics rules:
Since at least May 2004 through October 2006, Respondent represented herself in certain post-judgment issues.
On or about October 20, 2006, Kierre [the ex-husband] who was at that time, represented by Margaret Katherine Avery ("Avery"), obtained an emergency order of protection against Respondent. On or about November 22, 2006, Respondent filed a motion to vacate the emergency order of protection that was entered against her. The motion was scheduled to be heard on December 14, 2006 by Judge Veronica Mathein. On or about December 8, 2006, Avery filed a motion to dismiss Respondent’s motion to vacate the emergency order of protection, which was also scheduled to be heard on December 14, 2006.
On December 14, 2006, Respondent did not appear and Judge Mathein entered an order striking Respondent’s motion to vacate the emergency order of protection.
Approximately a half-hour after Judge Mathein struck her motion, Respondent appeared in court, learned that the motion had been stricken, and asked the clerk to recall the case. Respondent was told that the matter would have to be recalled later that afternoon because Judge Mathein was no longer available. Respondent left the courtroom and walked out to the hallway. When Avery approached Respondent in the hallway, with a copy of the order that has been entered striking Respondent’s motion, Respondent yelled expletives at Avery while pointing her finger in Avery’s face. Avery returned to the court room to get the assistance of the Deputy Sheriff, at which point Respondent left the building.
Later that afternoon of December 14, 2006, Respondent returned to Judge Mathein’s courtroom and asked Judge Mathein to reinstate the motion. During the hearing, Respondent yelled at Avery and yelled at Judge Mathein, and was escorted out of Judge Mathein’s courtroom by court security personnel. While outside the courtroom, Respondent shouted back toward Judge Mathein’s courtroom that a Nevada family law judge had been shot "for doing what Judge Mathein did to [Respondent]."
The above-described conduct led to a disorderly conduct conviction. The attorney was arrested on the criminal charges and incarcerated for four months because bond was not posted. She was sentenced to time served when the case was resolved by guilty plea to the disorderly charge.
The attorney also is charged with unauthorized practice in an unrelated matter. (Mike Frisch)
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