Monday, March 27, 2006

Lawyers, Cigars, and Forgery

Lawyers certainly find creative ways to get in all sorts of trouble.   The Seventh Circuit upheld the conviction of Chicago attorney Richard Connors for attempting to smuggle 46 boxes of Cuban cigars (hidden in four suitcases) into the country through Canada.  The opinion's first paragraph (here) shows that this one is more than a little intriguing:

Divorce rates are disturbingly high. Sometimes, marital splits get nasty when an ex-spouse decides to dish out a little dose of discomfort to his or her former partner. And as far as dishing out discomfort is concerned, the havoc visited on Chicago lawyer Richard Connors by his ex-wife would win a gold medal for creativity. With substantial assistance from his ex, Connors stands convicted in federal court of (among other things) violating a law we seldom encounter, the Trading with the Enemy Act * * * .

Connors received quite a surprise when his ex-wife's role in turning him in first came to light at trial.  The Seventh Circuit rejected his Fourth Amendment argument that his ex-wife's involvement in the case constituted an illegal search.  He received a 37-month prison term.  Peter Lattman on the Wall Street Journal Law Blog caught this one.

Meanwhile,  New York attorney Perry Reich received a 27-month sentence for his forgery of a federal magistrate's signature on a fake order and lying to federal officials.  Reich continues to deny that he faxed the fake order to an opponent in civil litigation.  According to a Law.Com story (here), U.S. District Judge Nicholas Garaufis said at the sentencing, "I don't know why he did what he did -- I don't know if he knows why he did what he did.  I'm not sure that any rational lawyer would ever do anything like this. It defies logic."  Reich's lawyer's questioned whether his client was in his right mind for doing something "this stupid, this outrageous."  Maybe it seemed like a good idea at the time, but the consequences have been disastrous.  Thanks to Harlan Protass on the Second Circuit Sentencing Blog for passing along the story. (ph)

Legal Ethics, Prosecutions, Sentencing | Permalink

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