Monday, November 18, 2013
An Illinois attorney is alleged to have engaged in a sexual relationship with a court-appointed criminal client and then lied about it to a judge and the Bar.
The complaint alleges that the attorney served as the Marion County Public Defender and was appointed to represent a client who was placed on probation with participation in a treatment program.
The sexual relationship is alleged to have started after the client went into treatment. The attorney thereafter represented her in revocation proceedings.
When allegations surfaced, the complaint alleges
...Judge Mark Stedelin, the resident Circuit Judge of Marion County, and Judge S. Gene Schwarm, the Chief Judge of the Fourth Judicial Circuit, met with Respondent and confronted him with information they had received about Respondent’s relationship with [the client].
During the meeting, Respondent denied having sexual relations with [the client] while [her] case was pending in Drug Court, and told the judges that he began sexual relations with her shortly after she was released from the Illinois Department of Corrections in April 2012.
Respondent’s statement that he did not have sexual relations with [the client] while her case was pending, and that he began sexual relations with [her] in April 2012 was false, in that Respondent began sexual relations with [her] in September 2011, while he was her counsel in case number [redacted]
Respondent knew his statements were false.
On April 22, 2013, Respondent formally resigned his position as Marion County Public Defender.
The petition states that his later false statements to the ARDC were corrected by a truthful affidavit.
Observation: I am a tireless (if often ignored) advocate for transparency in bar discipline and often cite Illinois as a prime example of one of the very best web pages in that regard.
Having said that, Illinois may be the only place where the allegations of misconduct are too detailed. Here, I have redacted the name of the client and question whether the client should be identified by name or case number.
Further, I note that the charges include this:
At the time the sexual relationship began, Respondent was 54 years old and [the client] was 23 years old.
That fact, if proven, may be relevant. Does it need to appear in the charging document? (Mike Frisch)