Thursday, November 30, 2023

Disbarment Proposed For Double Murder

The Illinois Review Board recommends disbarment for an attorney convicted of the murder of a client with whom he had had a personal relationship and her infant daughter

In 2013, the Administrator brought a one-count complaint against Respondent charging him with committing a criminal act that reflects adversely on his honesty, trustworthiness, or fitness as a lawyer in other respects, in violation of Rule 8.4(a)(3) of the 1990 Illinois Rules of Professional Conduct. Respondent was convicted in 2013 of two counts of first-degree murder for killing a young woman and her daughter in 2009. The complaint was filed pursuant to Illinois Supreme Court Rule 761, which governs disciplinary hearings arising from an attorney’s conviction.

The disciplinary proceedings against Respondent were stayed in 2013 while Respondent appealed his convictions. In May 2021, after Respondent’s direct appeals were exhausted, the stay was lifted, and the disciplinary matter proceeded. The disciplinary hearing was held on February 15, 2022.

At the disciplinary hearing, where Respondent appeared pro se, the Administrator presented documentary evidence of Respondent’s convictions. The Administrator’s Exhibits 1 and 2 were admitted into evidence, namely, Respondent’s convictions, and the Appellate Court order affirming the convictions. The Administrator did not call any witnesses. Respondent testified on his own behalf, and his Exhibits 1 through 4 were admitted.

Following the disciplinary hearing, the Hearing Board found that Respondent had violated Rule 8.4(a)(3) as charged, which was established by his convictions for the first-degree murder of two people. The Hearing Board recommended that Respondent be disbarred.

On appeal, Respondent challenges the decision to lift the stay of the proceedings, as well as the Hearing Board’s finding that Respondent violated Rule 8.4(a)(3); he also argues that the Administrator acted in bad faith by making certain statements in his appellate brief. Respondent does not challenge the recommended sanction. The oral argument before the Review Board was held on October 13, 2023. Respondent proceeded pro se on appeal.

For the reasons that follow, we reject Respondent’s arguments. We affirm the decision to lift the stay of the disciplinary proceedings and we affirm the Hearing Board’s finding that Respondent violated Rule 8.4(a)(3). We also find that the Administrator’s statements in the appellate brief were made in good faith. Additionally, we agree with the Hearing Board’s recommendation that Respondent be disbarred.

USA Today reported

A jury has convicted a Chicago attorney of murdering former NBA center Eddy Curry's ex-girlfriend and infant daughter four years ago.

Fredrick Goings showed no reaction when the jury's guilty verdict was read Tuesday in the January 2009 shooting deaths of 24-year-old Nova Henry and her and Curry's 10-month-old daughter, Ava.

Goings represented Henry in a child custody case against the former Chicago Bulls, New York Knicks and Miami Heat center, and was also romantically involved with her. Prosecutors say Henry tried to end her relationship with Goings and moved out with her and Curry's two children.

They say Goings shot Henry in her home while she was holding the infant. Her and Curry's son, who was then 3 years old, was also in the home but wasn't harmed.

(Mike Frisch)

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