Thursday, February 19, 2009
An Illinois hearing board has recommended that an attorney be disbarred for misconduct that includes filing frivolous litigation, unwarranted attacks on a judge and failure to appear in proceedings resulting in two warrants for his arrest. The attorney is also subject to a proposed two year suspension in another pending bar matter. In that case:
In the proceedings before the Hearing Board, as Respondent admitted to the misconduct alleged in the complaint and the Hearing Board found that Respondent had engaged in the misconduct charged, the primary issue addressed was appropriate discipline. In arriving at its recommendation, the Hearing Board considered in mitigation that Respondent had not been previously disciplined and he suffered from a variety of medical conditions including bipolar disorder, attention-deficit disorder, personality disorder, poly-substance abuse and dependence issues, sleep apnea, morbid obesity, hypertension, and diabetes. In aggravation, it noted that Respondent had not fully complied with certain requests of the forensic psychiatrist assigned by the Administrator to evaluate him, had failed to present any character or employment documentation evidence, and had failed to offer his own testimony or explanation regarding these and other matters. The Hearing Board also expressed concern that the deferral program in the criminal cases would not be completed by Respondent until after the conclusion of the Hearing Board proceedings and there was a possibility that the charges could be reinstated.
Here, disbarment was deemed appropriate:
Respondent’s misconduct here was not limited to his unfounded attacks on Judge Pantle, but also included his other false statements regarding certain facts in the case, his institution of a frivolous lawsuit in an effort to improperly attack the result in the case, and his failure to cooperate with the Administrator’s investigation into the matter. Thus, although his misconduct all arose in connection with the same dispute, it was not an isolated incident but involved multiple instances of improper and unprofessional behavior.
In addition, as discussed, there are significant aggravating factors present here, including Respondent’s prior serious misconduct, the outstanding warrants for his arrest, and his failure to participate in the disciplinary process. His failure to respond to the charges or participate in his own disciplinary proceeding is especially troubling since it is indicative of a complete lack of professionalism on his part and has deprived us of the ability to make any meaningful assessment of his current fitness to practice law. Respondent’s serious misconduct, coupled with these significant factors in aggravation, convinces us that a sanction of disbarment is warranted in this case.