January 3, 2012
An Illinois Hearing Board has recommended a stayed suspension with conditions of an attorney who received a deferred judgment in Colorado on felony charges of internet exploitation of a child.
The hearing board noted mitigating evidence:
Respondent also presented persuasive character evidence. Traditionally, character evidence is limited to an individual’s reputation in the community for truth and veracity. In this case, four witnesses testified regarding this point. All four stated Respondent’s reputation in the community for truth, veracity and integrity was good, but also opined most people in the community are not aware of his misconduct. Generally, based on these facts, the character testimony would be of limited value. However, we find the character testimony compelling for two reasons. First, as we have found, Respondent’s misconduct did not involve dishonesty. Therefore, it would not affect his reputation for truth and veracity. Second, the testimony of the three rabbis was persuasive and entitled to significant weight. The rabbis’ testimony went beyond general character witness testimony. Each of the rabbis is a learned and well-respected member of the Jewish community. Each expressed his belief Respondent has acknowledged his misconduct and is genuinely sorry for it. Each stated Respondent is committed to changing his behavior and ensuring he will not repeat his mistakes. Impressively, Rabbi Fuerst testified he and his community are so committed to Respondent and his family they are providing Respondent with ongoing financial support. The testimony of these individuals goes beyond the usual character testimony, and speaks to the actual character of Respondent. These are thoughtful individuals who would not testify on Respondent’s behalf unless they honestly believed in Respondent, and we give this testimony substantial weight.
The Administrator had sought a suspension of three years and until further court order. (Mike Frisch)
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