Thursday, July 12, 2018
An Illinois Hearing Board accepted a stipulated reprimand of an attorney who pleaded guilty to but was not convicted of misdemeanor battery
On the evening of June 24, 2016, and again on the evening of June 25, 2016, at the request of his spouse, Respondent changed the light bulbs at their home in northwest suburban Inverness. On June 25, 2016, Respondent and his spouse were discussing household responsibilities, including his spouse's request that Respondent change additional light bulbs. By 9:30 that evening, Respondent had not finished changing the light bulbs.
On the evening of Sunday, June 26, 2016, Respondent sat down in a chair after dinner to watch television. Respondent and his spouse continued their discussion about the light bulbs. The discussion continued about other topics as Respondent was on a stepladder finishing changing the burned-out light bulbs in the kitchen.
Respondent recalls that his spouse was yelling at him as he came down from the stepladder. Respondent then put his hand up and placed it on his spouse's neck. Respondent removed his hand from his spouse's neck when she told him she could not breathe. That same night, Respondent's spouse contacted the Palatine Police Department to file a police report against Respondent based on his conduct.
On June 26, 2016, officers arrived at Respondent's home, and spoke with both Respondent and his spouse. Respondent's spouse told the officers that she had not lost consciousness, and informed them she was declining medical treatment because she did not feel she was injured. The officers noted in their report that they had observed visible red marks on Respondent's spouse's neck. The officers then arrested Respondent.
On June 27, 2016, the Cook County State's Attorney charged Respondent with Domestic Battery in violation of 720 ILCS 5/12-3.2(a)(2). The matter was captioned The People of the State of Illinois v. Brian J. Wanca, and docketed in the Domestic Violence Division of the Circuit Court of Cook County as case number 16 DV 30448.
On October 3, 2016, Respondent pled guilty to Battery, a Class A misdemeanor. On that date, Judge Samuel J. Betar entered an order sentencing Respondent to twelve months of court supervision, requiring him to complete a drug and alcohol evaluation and adhere to any corresponding treatment recommendations, and completion of a domestic violence program.
On September 28, 2017, having complied with the conditions imposed by Judge Betar, Respondent's supervision was terminated as "satisfactory" and no judgment of conviction was entered against Respondent as a result of his conduct.
In mitigation, Respondent has not been disciplined since his admission in 1980, and he has been cooperative in the disciplinary process. Respondent has expressed remorse for his conduct and promptly complied with all conditions related to his supervision. He has also engaged in pro bono work throughout his legal career, and, in various class action matters he has handled, has distributed in excess of one million dollars in cy pres donations (distributions of class funds to non-profit organizations that advance the public interest)