December 4, 2008
"A Long Way To Go"
An Illinois hearing board has recommended denial of a petition for reinstatement of a former attorney convicted in federal court of multiple counts of bribing judges. In one of the matters, the lawyer's client had threatened to kill him if he was sentenced to prison. The lawyer secured acquittal by paying the judge $10,000.
The board concluded:
We are not in a position to suggest what Petitioner must do to satisfy this requirement for reinstatement, but we can say that based on the seriousness of his misconduct, he has a long way to go. See In re Wood, 07 RT 3004, M.R. 21816 (September 16, 2008) (an attorney who was disbarred after convictions for selling cocaine was reinstated after he acted as a government informant, was active in drug prevention and treatment groups, established support groups in areas of the state that needed them, engaged in extensive volunteer work and was employed in a position of responsibility).
Moreover, we are also not convinced that Petitioner is currently knowledgeable of the law. Petitioner presented evidence that he has read legal materials while in prison and after being released; however, that evidence is vague and inadequate to prove that he is currently knowledgeable of the law. Importantly, Petitioner has attended no continuing legal education courses.
We give little weight to the character testimony presented by the Petitioner. All of the witnesses were either close friends or family members of Petitioner, and stated that Petitioner has lead an "exemplary" life since leaving prison. None of them, however, gave details to support their conclusory statements, and we find no facts in the record. As noted, Petitioner has made amends with his family, but that is only one facet of showing that he is changed. Petitioner has presented no evidence that relates the legal profession or the community in general.
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