Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Never Cured

An Illinois Hearing Board has recommended a stayed four-month suspension, with one year of probation, in a matter involving the attorney's 1994 DUI conviction and a 2008 conviction for possession of marijuana.  The key evidence was given by the ("triply board certified") addictions expert called by the Administrator:

After interviewing Respondent, Dr. Henry stated that he formulated opinions regarding a diagnosis and recommendation for treatment. Dr. Henry stated that his diagnosis of Respondent was alcohol dependent and probable cannabis abuse. Dr. Henry stated that the cannabis abuse diagnosis was probable because Respondent empathically [sic] refused to submit to any laboratory testing.

Based on his diagnosis, Dr. Henry opines that Respondent could benefit from a treatment protocol for his substance use. Dr. Henry stated that Respondent would benefit from a course of intensive outpatient chemical dependency treatment. After completing that course of intensive outpatient treatment, Respondent would benefit from aftercare, which is a fairly common follow-up in which, once a week for a period of one year, an individual goes to a group with other individuals struggling with issues of chemical dependency who have just completed primary treatment. Dr. Henry stated that Respondent would benefit from involvement in a 12-step program, being urine-monitored for accountability purposes and having contact with a sponsor with whom Respondent would regularly remain in contact.

After considering Respondent's statement that he has not consumed alcohol since February 2010 or marijuana since 2007, Dr. Henry gave his opinion of whether Respondent could be considered "cured." Dr. Henry stated that no, Respondent was not cured because no one is ever cured of chemical dependency. One can only be in remission and an individual is always at risk for relapse. Further, Dr. Henry stated that it was his clinical experience that when an individual truly is in recovery, they will very willingly submit to laboratory tests because it proves them to be telling the truth. (Transcript citations omitted)

The proposed sanction would require alcohol treatment and reports from his treatment program. The attorney has no prior discipline. Note that the DUI took place almost seventeen years ago and that the attorney completed the alcohol program required in the criminal case. (Mike Frisch)

Bar Discipline & Process | Permalink

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