Tuesday, November 29, 2022

False Report Draws Proposed Suspension

The Illinois Review Board has proposed a 90-day suspension of an attorney

The complaint alleged that Respondent, who was ordered to complete 20 hours of community service as part of her sentence for a traffic violation, submitted a report to Woodford County Court Services, falsely representing that she had completed her community service by volunteering at St. Mark’s Church, in Peoria, Illinois, when, in fact, she had not done any volunteer work for St. Mark’s Church, thereby acting dishonestly and in a manner that reflected adversely on her honesty. Prior to the complaint being filed, Respondent was indicted for forgery, a felony, for submitting that false report (720 ILCS 5/17-3(a)(2)); she pled guilty to the indictment and was placed on Second Chance Probation for two years. 

The Administrator had sought a suspension of five months.

Respondent had been ticketed for driving at 95 mph in a 55 mph zone.

At the disciplinary hearing, when Respondent was asked why she submitted a false report, Respondent testified that she “cut corners.” (C. 151, 165.) She also testified that she justified it in her mind because she had performed enough volunteer work at the Peoria Symphony Guild to satisfy the court imposed requirement of 20 hours of community service. (C. 154-158, 165.)

A special concurrence by Member Scott Szala

under Illinois law, Respondent can credibly argue that she was not required to report her felony guilty plea of forgery to her existing or future clients. However, since the long-standing purpose of ARDC discipline is, in part, to “protect the public,” In re Timpone, 157 Ill. 2d 178, 197 (1993), some existing or future clients could be troubled to learn that their attorney pled guilty to a felony under the Second Chance Probation statute but was not required to disclose that guilty plea to them. Accordingly, from a public policy standpoint, I bring this issue cto the attention of the Court for its consideration.

(Mike Frisch)

https://lawprofessors.typepad.com/legal_profession/2022/11/the-illinois-review-board-has-proposed-a-90-day-suspension-of-an-attorney.html

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