Monday, November 18, 2013


An attorney who ran for a circuit court judge position has been charged with running a false advertisment by the Illinois Administrator:

Between 1980 and 1995, [the attorney's opponent] Judge Lopinot was a part-time  public defender for the St. Clair County Public Defender's office, and he had no  supervisory duties over other part-time or full-time defenders in that office.

The front side of Respondent's campaign mailer referred to  a 1989 case in St. Clair County in which Rodney Woitdke ("Woidtke") had been  convicted of murder. The mailer stated that Woidtke spent 12 years in prison for  a murder that he did not commit, and it cited an opinion of the Illinois  Appellate Court for 5th Judicial District in 2000 that reversed the  denial of Woidtke's post-conviction petition and remanded for his case for a new  trial, on the basis of a conflict of interest on the part Woidtke's trial  counsel, then-Assistant Public Defender Brian Trentman ("Trentman").  Respondent's mailer then stated the following:

"Supervising Public Defender VINCENT J. LOPINOT and his Assistant, Brian Trentman ‘were NEGLIGENT in their representation of Mr. Woidtke in a 1989 criminal proceeding that resulted in his wrongful conviction of murder of Audrey Cardenas.' (Source: Woidtke v. St. Clair County, St. Clair Public Defenders Office, Brian K. Trentman and Vincent Lopinot, No. 02-4223, May 2003) (sic)"

In the above-quoted text, Judge Lopinot's name was  in a very large font and all capital letters, while Trentman's name was in a  very small font and with only the first letters capitalized. See Exhibit  One.

On the mailer, accompanying the above-quoted text, was a photograph of  Judge Lopinot that bore the epigraph "NEGLIGENT" and was imposed over a larger  photograph of a man whose wrists and mouth were bound with duct tape. See Exhibit One.

Respondent's representations that Judge Lopinot had supervised Trentman in  the Woidtke case, and that Judge Lopinot was negligent in the case, were false.  Judge Lopinot had no involvement in the Woidtke case in 1989.

Respondent knew that his representations that Judge Lopinot had supervised  Trentman in the Woidtke case, and that Judge Lopinot was negligent in the case,  were false, or he made the representations with reckless disregard as to their  truth or falsity.

Judgepedia reports that Judge Lopinet nonetheless prevailed. . (Mike Frisch)

Bar Discipline & Process, Judicial Ethics and the Courts | Permalink

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