March 17, 2009
Recovery And Readmission
An Illinois hearing board has recommended that a disbarred attorney be reinstated. The attorney had become addicted to crack cocaine and been disbarred in Tennessee for illegal drug use (he was never convicted of a drug offense), practicing law while on interim suspension for drug use and accepting a fee for services while suspended. Reciprocal disbarment was imposed in Illinois based on the Tennessee action.
Here, the board finds that the attorney has overcome his addiction:
After Petitioner was disciplined by the Tennessee court, he successfully completed an intensive in-patient drug rehabilitation program, as well as an aftercare program. The evidence established that he has abstained from drug and alcohol use since 2000, and at the present time attends 12-step meetings on a regular basis and participates in the LAP program. Witnesses who have had significant contact with Petitioner and are aware of his recovery efforts testified he is committed to sobriety. Dr. Stafford Henry [the Bar's expert] believed Petitioner's addictions problems are in sustained remission and there is no mental health reason that would preclude Petitioner from consistently adhering to the Rules of Professional Conduct. No evidence was presented to the contrary.
The board notes that he has been reinstated in Tennessee and proposes readmission with conditions that would include monitoring for one year. (Mike Frisch)
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