Friday, September 30, 2022

Harassing Judge Should Be Disbarred

An Illinois Hearing Board recommends the disbarment of a judge who defaulted on allegations of misconduct

The allegations deemed admitted establish that Respondent engaged in multiple instances of sexually harassing conduct toward three women while he was working in his capacity as a Cook County Circuit Court Judge. In 2016, while a female Chicago police officer was obtaining Respondent’s signature on a search warrant, Respondent attempted to kiss the officer on the lips, grabbed her hand and told her, “Touch my butt,” all without her consent. He also made lewd comments to the officer on another occasion when they met at her squad car regarding another search warrant. On two occasions in 2011, Respondent approached a female court reporter in a suggestive manner when they were alone in a courthouse elevator and asked how much money it would take for the court reporter to have sex with him. On September 11, 2018, Respondent made demeaning remarks about a female Assistant State’s Attorney after she appeared before him in a first degree murder case. Respondent was unhappy that the female attorney, who was his law
school classmate, had not congratulated him on his promotion to a new courtroom or said hello to him. Later that day, Respondent called another Assistant State’s Attorney into his chambers and began discussing the female lawyer’s failure to acknowledge him. Respondent referred to the female lawyer as a “bitch” and further stated, “Maybe it’s because I didn’t have sex with her. Or maybe it’s because I did have sex with her.”

Sanction

As a sitting judge, Respondent was required to observe high standards of conduct, comply with the law, and avoid impropriety. His disregard of these obligations for his own sexual gratification makes his misconduct especially egregious. In arriving at its recommendation of disbarment, the Panel also considered the following significant factors in aggravation: the harm to the victims, the legal profession, and the administration of justice; Respondent’s abuse of his position of authority; his pattern of misconduct; his selfish motives; his failure to accept responsibility or show remorse for his misconduct; and his disrespect toward the Court and the disciplinary process by failing to participate in this proceeding.

Respondent has no prior discipline. We considered that factor in mitigation, but it does not lead us to recommend a different sanction.

Chicago Sun-Times links to an Injustice Watch  report on his resignation.

(Mike Frisch)

https://lawprofessors.typepad.com/legal_profession/2022/09/an-illinois-hearing-board-recommends-the-disbarment-of-a-judge-who-defaulted-on-allgations-of-misconduct-the-allegations-dee.html

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