Monday, November 19, 2012

"Obvious Hypocrisy" When Drug Prosecutor Flaunts Law

An Illinois Hearing Board has recommended disbarment of an attorney charged with the following:

The Complaint charged Respondent with misconduct arising out of his sharing of a townhouse with a person Respondent knew was distributing marijuana from their residence and Respondent's use of marijuana with persons he knew were involved in drug transactions. At the time, Respondent was employed as an Assistant State's Attorney. Respondent was charged with additional misconduct based on false statements he made to police and his supervisors at the State's Attorney's office.

As to sanction:

The drug-related misconduct present here would be reprehensible for any lawyer. Respondent, however, engaged in this misconduct while employed as an Assistant State's Attorney. This is an aggravating factor. Sims, 144 Ill. 2d at 325. Respondent's assignment in the Traffic Division entailed the duty to prosecute cases involving activity, i.e., possession of marijuana and drug paraphernalia, in which Respondent himself was engaged. The obvious hypocrisy inherent in this situation is extremely damaging to the integrity of the legal profession.

...we have an Assistant State's Attorney who flaunted the law before and after being licensed to practice. Respondent had used drugs with [his housemate] Yoselowitz for years before sharing a residence with him. This history reflects Respondent's state of mind. Respondent continued in this pattern of behavior as his legal career began, thereby demonstrating an utter disregard for his responsibilities to uphold the law. Nothing in this record gives us any reason to think Respondent's behavior would have ceased if Yoselowitz had not been arrested.

(Mike Frisch)

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