Saturday, May 22, 2010
The Illinois Supreme Court accepted the proposed sanction of its Review Board and imposed a 60 day suspension against an attorney who had blogged about her cases. Legal Blog Watch had reported the allegations:
A former Illinois assistant public defender faces disciplinary charges over postings to her blog that Illinois authorities say exposed client confidences and revealed her complicity in a client's fraud on a court. The attorney denies the charges and says she plans to hire legal counsel to help her fight them.
The focus of the disciplinary complaint is Kristine Ann Peshek and her former blog, "The Bardd Before the Bar -- Irreverant Adventures in Life, Law, and Indigent Defense." Among other things, the blog chronicled her work as an assistant public defender in Winnebago County. She discontinued the blog when her supervisor became aware of it in April 2008 and fired her.
The Review Board had approved a stipulated disposition:
Respondent's conduct in referring to a judge as "clueless" and referring to another judge as "a total asshole," is similar to the respondent's misconduct in In re Barringer, M.R. 17621, 00 SH 80 (September 21, 2001). In that case, the respondent filed a motion to substitute a judge in a client's dissolution of marriage matter. The motion contained false statements about the judge's financial obligations and credit limits. The motion also contained false allegations that the judge had conducted an ex parte interview with Barringer's client's son. Barringer was censured. While Respondent's conduct was similar to the respondents' conduct in Koziol and Barringer, Respondent also revealed client confidences in her blogs. Therefore, a 60-day suspension is more appropriate than the censures imposed in Koziol and Barringer.
Given Respondent's actions in revealing her client's confidences on the Internet, and her actions in advising her client not to correct her misstatement to the court, a 60-day suspension will serve the purposes of the disciplinary system and is within the range of this Court's precedent in cases involving comparable misconduct.
We reported the charges filed by the Administrator here. (Mike Frisch)