Tuesday, November 6, 2012
An Illinois Hearing Board has recommended that an attorney be disbarred for his conviction in a marijuana distribution scheme.
The board recited the facts:
In May 2010, Respondent agreed to lease an 18,000 sq. ft. warehouse located in Sacramento California to Peter and Thomas Holtzman. When he entered into the agreement, Respondent knew the Holtzmans intended to use the warehouse space to cultivate marijuana for distribution. Respondent also agreed to be paid a fee by the Holtzmans for acting as a front for their activities, in addition to the compensation received for rent and utility expenses related to the operation of the warehouse. Respondent visited the warehouse at least eight times between May and December 2010,and met with telephone or municipal utility workers when installation or inspection work was required.
On December 9, 2010, agents from the Sacramento Regional Office of the Department of Justice, Bureau of Narcotic Enforcement received a telephone call from the Sacramento Municipal Utilities District regarding several electrical transformers in the vicinity of the warehouse that had overheated. That problem was traced to the warehouse. After unsuccessful attempts to contact Respondent, agents attempting to enter the warehouse property apprehended a man who was fleeing from them. In the resulting security sweep of the warehouse site, agents discovered 8,000 marijuana plants, 200 lights and ballasts, fans and a $15,000 marijuana trimming machine.
The attorney's response:
I have prepared an answer, but I am not going to file it. From a legal perspective, I believe that my chances of successfully defending against the bar's claims are very, very low. From a practical perspective, I have not practiced in Illinois for more than twenty-five years and don't intend to return to practice there; also, time and cost make a defense prohibitive.
The board noted that the attorney acknowledged the misconduct and expressed remorse. (Mike Frisch)