Friday, October 10, 2008
An Illinois hearing board has recommended that an attorney convicted on three occasions of driving under the influence be suspended for one year and until further court order. The Administrator had the attorney submit to a medical/mental health evaluation that led to the key finding with respect to sanction:
Dr. Jeckel, an experienced psychiatrist (Adm. Ex. 6), testified that he was asked by the ARDC to conduct a psychological evaluation of the Respondent. Dr. Jeckel reviewed various documents and met with the Respondent for one and one-half hours in November 2007. The Respondent was also given a psychological test in January 2008. Dr. Jeckel stated that the Respondent's cooperation in regard to the evaluation was unsatisfactory. For example, the Respondent was not a good historian, he was cantankerous, and he declined to provide the names of individuals for Dr. Jeckel to contact. At the time of the psychological testing in January 2008, the Respondent was argumentative, denigrated the process, and revealed a deficiency in his mental state. For example, he was unable to correctly identify the date or the day of the week.
Dr. Jeckel voiced the opinion that the Respondent has alcohol induced-dementia and is severely impaired. He further stated that it is "hard to imagine" that the Respondent can practice law in an appropriate manner. Dr. Jeckel also noted that the Respondent has continued to use alcohol and has not taken any steps to obtain necessary treatment.
Dr. Jeckel recommended the following treatment for the RESPONDENT: abstention from the use of alcohol; placement in a detoxification facility for one to two months, where he could be carefully watched; treatment on an outpatient basis for at least six months to a year; and then re-examination.
One of most frustrating matters I have ever handled involved a lawyer who had similar issues and had violated ethical duties to his clients, which apparently did not occur here. The frustration came in trying to persuade the disciplinary system to consider this type of evidence at all. (Mike Frisch)