January 13, 2012
Court Suspends Attorney For Slurs
The Illinois Supreme Court today has approved the imposition of discipline in a matter described by Stephanie Rabiner at Greedy Associates:
If you weren't already aware, gay slurs are inappropriate fodder for attorneys, and using them can lead to disciplinary sanctions.
Chicago-based traffic attorney Thomas Guadagno, 66, knows this first hand. The Illinois Attorney Registration and Disciplinary Commission has slapped him with a month-long suspension and two years of probation.
He's been accused of describing his colleagues as "gay scum" for at least the last six years.
According to the disciplinary complaint, Thomas Guadagno spent his days in Cook County Traffic Court. While there, he would tell potential clients that the other attorneys were "child molesters," and "faggots."
He also claimed that one colleague had a "sexual torture chamber in his basement."
And in 2009, he was found guilty of disorderly conduct, according to the Chicago Tribune. While at the courthouse, he called an ex-client's new counsel a scumbag and homosexual, and yelled out that he shouldn't hire a gay attorney.
That resulted in six months of probation and court-ordered anger management classes.
All of the above is believed to violate ethical provisions found in Model Rule 8.4. Under this rule, it is professional misconduct to:
(b) commit a criminal act that reflects adversely on the lawyer's honesty, trustworthiness or fitness as a lawyer in other respects; and
(d) engage in conduct that is prejudicial to the administration of justice.
Illinois rules also make it misconduct to "bring the courts or the legal profession into disrepute."
These rules could also be used to punish racial and religious slurs as well as overt sexist remarks. So do yourself a favor and learn a little something from Thomas Guadagno. Keep your hate to yourself.
The sanction consists of a five-month suspension with all but 30 days stayed and probation for two years. The attorney must participate in anger management treatment. The disposition can be found at this link. (Mike Frisch)
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