To: Dr. Sam Sugar <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Sent: Friday, November 28, 2014 8:47 AM
Subject: Re: A Thanksgiving letter to victims of guardianship
First, from the ACLU group of Linked In, we have this “can a Facebook public post be a criminal threat” –
which is to be reviewed shortly by the US supreme court.
The quote clearly does not fall under “First Amendment” rights, or does it?
What did the guy say to his soon to be ex?
“Fold up your PFA [protection-from-abuse order] and put it in your pocket
Is it thick enough to stop a bullet?”
What was his excuse? RAP music. He likes RAP music and was emulating his heroes.
And more from the washshington post on highway robberies by police officers. The upshot? Use a debit card. Do NOT carry or accept cash for payments. Do NOT keep anything of value in your car. All sorts of cell phones, laptops, cash and other valuables have been taken by police by simply writing down on reports “drug trafficking suspect.” 80% or more of the property and cash is never returned to the owners because stumbling through the red tape is too much for the average citizen. Much is “lost” in the system. There are few rules or controls over these seizures.
apparently there was a small company that is a key provider of propaganda to incite and promote these unconstitutional seizures:
it is called DESERT SNOW, I imagine it refers to the fact you can get “snow” or “booty” from use of this program even in a seeming desert. The owners claim that even though 80% of the cash or property never is tied to any arrest or conviction, it “stems the tide of money for drugs and drug trafficking.” What? If that’s the theory, then why not have police just grab paychecks as they are issued at Target, Walmart, Sears, etc.? That will for sure keep those employees from buy drugs with that cash. It will also stop the payment of utility bills, food and rent, but that’s the employee’s problem, now isn’t it? Better to sacrifice a herd that have someone light up a joint.
And to all of you probate victims out there that cannot see your beloved persons today or yesterday, my heart goes out to you and I wish you a Happy Thanksgiving nonetheless.
As most of you know, the decision by the ARDC was rather childish and idiotic. At one point, they say any charges against me referring to allegedly improper comments regarding the GAL’s and court appointed attorneys fail because that’s not impugning the character of a judge or the judiciary (I would assume untruthfully). At another point, they concentrate on those statements.
The decision, for the most part, repeats a whole lot of statements from the blog, ignores the pleadings and evidence on the blog, banned Gloria Sykes who would testify everything was true, banned Scott Evans who would testify everything is true, Yolanda and Kathie Bakken testified the blog was true and only got in a fight with the tribunal over how they were wrong and the powers that be were right.
The entire process turned into a circus for the most part, with the tribunal arguing with the family members, revering Judge Stuart who changed her testimony on the stand and then the transcript got changed.
The decision never explained that one.
The decision never explained why a main witness had a $60k tax lien on his property records for over a year, another witness has a husband with over a hundred property transaction on his public records–none of that explained.
They list the statements from the blog they don’t like and then come to the conclusion they’re wrong or false or deceptive or whatever–without any proof, just as in the Amu case.
My question is, where is the FBI and why is there no grand jury investigation of the denial of our first amendment rights–Ditkowsky, Amu and myself, and why are the Federal Court proceedings so childish also with decisions without case law that appear to be written by a lobbyist rather than a jurist.
For example, what is with the statement “we hope the litigation is over” even tho this blog reports massive corruption and victimization of the elderly and disabled? What is that? Do they not know that fraud on court has no limitations period–just as in the Sykes case, the Wyman case, etc. When the courts are cleaned up, and there is at least jurisdiction and due process, that is the day when the litigation will be over. The statement is ludicrious.
Now we have an ARDC decision clearly based upon fraud on the court. The tribunal does not mention the altered transcript, being fully aware of it, and I assume they did not report it to the authorities under 18 USC sec 4, so they are all aware that they are subject to liability for misprision of felony.
I thought it fairly amazing they recognized that I did not threaten any criminal prosecution to gain an advantage in a civil matter because 1) most of the work in this area I do is probono and I don’t get paid for 95% of it; 2) what civil matter? these are blogging clients, they are not litigation clients and for the most part, I never had an appearance on file in the vast majority of these case.
So then what does the Tribunal conclude? Obviously I’m not in this for the money, I get no advantage, I work long hard hours to help people, right? They amazingly conclude that my intentions are somehow “seriously misguided.” Really, “seriously misguided?” in helping people, in blogging about corruption, this makes for a 3 year suspension based upon arguments with family witnesses where the Tribunal tries to convince them they are stupid when everyone knows better? And, for the information of the Tribunal, the reason why probate victims are no longer stupid, is because they learn about the law on this (honest) probate blog and many other probate blogs that substantiate what I say is true.
The argument of the Tribunal with the elderly and disabled witnesses was particularly insulting. I don’t know how Kathie Bakken and Yolanda Bakken could take the way the Tribunal treated them, with disdain and contempt for their complaints against “beloved judges and attorneys”–attorneys who make their living while a million dollars fell of the inventor of Mary G Sykes.
Just what did the Tribunal prove or show other than conclusory statements against someone who was fights a crooked and corrupt system. Now we’re up to 3 attorneys subject to this kangaroo court and insults. When will it end?
Here are Ken’s thoughts–
You are welcome to publish the article I wrote, to wit:
THE WIRED CASE: 
Every litigant has heard of the ‘wired case’ and has a deep fear that his/her opponent has an unauthorized advantage. In my early days in the practice of law the relationship between the lawyers and the judge was casual and more academic. In a case that I was involved in (in Kane County) the judge had coffee and sweet rolls in his chambers on mornings he entertained a motion call. It was the custom to arrive about 9:00 A.M. go directly to chambers, have a cup of coffee with the “boys” and at 9:30 the Judge would say: “OK, let’s go to work.”
We did. Lawyers presented their motions and without hesitation the Judge ruled. At 10:00 the scheduled trials began. The issues had been pared and therefore the trial was relatively short. At the lunch break it was not uncommon for all the lawyers involved in the trial and the judge to go together to eat. We were all friends. Each of us represented our clients’ interest as if it was our own. We had disagreements, but were not disagreeable.
It was years before I realized the anxiety that the client had when he saw his lawyer and the opponent’s lawyer sharing a ride or eating meals together with the judge. Clients were aware that we did not share their dislike for the opposition lawyer and were terrified that we were selling them out. We were not selling anyone or anything out, we were taking advantage of friendship to narrow the issues and eliminate the issues that we agreed upon. As an example, it would be my duty to inform Mr. Waller that his Petition for a guardianship (filed for his client) failed to name Mary Sykes’ two living siblings. It would also be my obligation as Waller’s friend to point out the fact that neither sister nor the younger daughter was given the jurisdictional 14 days prior notice. 
When the lawyer on the other side of a case was hostile it was a clear sign that either he did not understand the process, or had something else going. The red flags went up! Unfortunately, hostility was not a sure fire determinate of a ‘wired case.’ There were fixer firms operating. These firms regularly plied the receptive judges with unauthorized remuneration. All the practicing members of the bar knew who these firms were and regularly informed their clients of the problem. Of course there were judges who had particular bias, but here again we knew who they were. The big distinction was that we recognized the problem. We dealt with this problem because to my opponent might have me behind the eight ball – but tomorrow I might have him in the same position. Therefore, it is in both our best interests to co-operate so that our clients obtained a proper and fair result.
By 1970 the ‘code’ was disappearing and a new breed of lawyers was showing his/her ugly face on the horizon. The new breed of lawyers is described in the Denison decision and in previous e-mails I forwarded to you. The new lawyer’s code eliminated the desire to address the dispute and be satisfied with a job well down. The new code appeared to present the proposition of redistributing the client’s wealth from the client’s pocket to his/her lawyer. The legal profession’s reputation was soiled as the public recognized that this new lawyer was more venal and resisted the idea of not litigating the facts and the law that all reasonable people agreed upon. This lawyer had no problem in using clout to accomplish something he/she knew was not appropriate.  The Denison decision points out as example that Schmiedel claims $200,000 as fees due him. It ignores the fact if he had allowed Mary Sykes to have a lawyer at a fair and impartial hearing his fees would have been only a few dollars. As the Court lacked jurisdiction and ignored the Petition filed by Mary for a protective order his entire presence in the Sykes case is illegitimate. Indeed, had Stern, Farenga, Schmiedel and the presiding judges taken 755 IlCS 5/11a -3b seriously these proceedings would never have occurred, there were be no guardianship, and no attorney fees or guardianship fees charged.  Attorney fees are not a matter of right!
In an analogous manner the limitations required by the Americans with Disabilities Act have been and are routinely ignored by the protected attorneys and certainly by the ‘wired’ panel of the IARDC. There is no question that the lawyers on the panel were aware that guardianship is limited by Title 2 of the act and in particular to the requirement of a reasonable accommodation.  (Thus why did they ignore it?) These lawyers on the panel were and are aware that a reasonable accommodation is not the isolation of a disabled person so that he/she can be railroaded into an un-necessary guardianship so that she can be deprived of her liberty, have her property disappear, and ultimately be subjected to gross indignity. Indeed, it is the rule that attorney fees be reasonable and necessary and do benefit to the estate. The new breed of lawyer who enjoys the protection of Mr. Larkin and the IARDC is blind deaf and dumb as to disabled clients entitled to ADA protection .
The Alice Gore case (prospecting for gold in the mouth of Ms. Gore and harvesting of the same) is one example of the new type lawyers (and Judges) that appeared on the scene in the 1970’s. The Sykes case is another example. There are many others across the United States and disclosed by various blogs other than Ms. Denison’s. The Government Accounting Office even reported some of the cases to the Congress. 
As the older lawyers and judges died out or retired the joy and the professionalism became much rarer. The courtroom became more of a battleground and display of wits, rather than a discussion of legal principles and ways to address problems. The Black Panther case was an example of a ‘wired case.’ Therein, the corrupt judge recognized that the police raid was absolutely improper and the killing of an individual (who was admittedly a terrible person) was a “hit.” It was also clear that the State of Illinois was dead wrong; however, the Judge was hell bent on finding for the State. Thus, the judge leaned all the way over to grant just about every whim that the plaintiffs made known. The defense could not win a motion for a continuance. After the plaintiff had rested the judge granted the defense’s Motion for a Finding, and directed a verdict.
The Judge had protected his record! The appeal was costly! Except for some special circumstances 99% of the litigants could not afford it and the fix was successful. A trier of facts has complete power to determine the credibility of witnesses and it is rare that an appellate court will overturn him. Thus, a foolproof scenario is complete. Transcripts of proceedings are expensive and for most litigants their cost places the litigation out of reach. Thus, the losing litigant has no further remedy.
The Denison decision is a horse of a different stripe. The panel was so wired that not only was Ms. Denison denied the lawyer of her choice, but, had the attorney for the IARDC wanted Ms. Denison to be dressed in red, it was a sure fire cinch that the panel chairman would have entered such an order. The decision makes it very clear that Denison had no hope of a fair hearing must less a fair decision. In my case, the panel openly admitted in an order to an ex-parte communication. In the Denison case, a sitting judge openly perjured herself on the stand. She was subsequently forced to resign from the bench ; however, the panel ignored this outrage that occurred right in their presence. Judicial corruption occurred right in the hearing home of the trier of fact and so biased was the trier of fact that it ignored it!!!
An examination of the decision confirms that the proceedings were something out of Alice in Wonderland. Please allow me to explain:
1) No matter how you slice it, the averments concerning Ms. Denison are that she authored a blog and that the statements therein were untrue.
2) Ms. Denison’s blog is not even alleged to be a commercial operation, but merely the recitation of content related material. As content related material the first issue that has to be addressed is whether or not the IARDC can regulate it. Alvarez 183 LED 2d 574, Brown 131 S. Ct 2729, Ashcroft 542 US 656, Snyder 131 S. Ct 1207, Citizens United 558 US 310k, McCutcheon 2014 WL 1301866 and Peel vs. the IARDC 496 US 91 all point out that content related utterance cannot be regulated even to the extent of determining if the statements are true. In re Sawyer 360 US 622, and Gentile 501 US 1030 all make it abundantly clear that the First Amendment protects apply to lawyers as well as all other citizens.
3) The Blog is protected by 47 USCA 230, and the subject matter protected even from disciplinary proceedings by 340 ILCS 20/4. The action of Mr. Larkin is abhorred by 735 ILCS 110/5 as the legislature of the State of Illinois announced its policy. 
This subject matter (of the right to rule on an issue) is not addressed by the decision even though it is basic and the first question to be addressed. By not addressed I mean that if you examine the opinion for any cogent argument discussing the First Amendment protections being applicable you will find none. In fact there is no intelligent discussion of the distinction between commercial and private communications or any discussion of any distinction between lawyers and other citizens etc. The ‘wired’ panel points out that it does not want to be confused by the fact or the law. It does not desire to discuss anything of substance. The First rule of the Rule of Law is respect for the civil rights and immunities of all citizens without regard for race, creed, profession, religion *****. It is respectfully submitted that the reason that there was no discussion of the Constitutional liberties to which Ms. Denison is absolutely entitled is the fact that the IARDC commission was ‘wired’ to decide against Ms. Denison in the very same manner that they were wired to decide against myself and Mr. Amu. (In my opinion the Amu decision goes a step further and demonstrates an illegal racial nexus.
Assuming that last night we woke up in North Korea and our Constitution had been abrogated. Even without the Constitutional protections section 47 USCA 230 and 340 ILCS 20/4 prohibit these disciplinary proceedings against Ms. Denison or any other lawyer. The foregoing notwithstanding the IARDC commission ignores all statutes which bar their action. 47 USCA 230 and 340 ILCS 20/4 are no exceptions. The decision is silent as to how the commission is justified in ignoring not only the state standard but the Federal as well. Larkin and his cohorts do not suggest that these statutes are not applicable – they just ignore any law that might interfere with the lynching.
The trier of fact has a right to be wrong and even stupid; however, a trier of fact has a duty to uphold the Constitution and the Rule of Law. This Denison case is a ‘wired’ case and admitted to be such as Larkin et al make no effort to even justify their (i.e. the panel, the commission et al) ignoring the Citizen protections due Ms. Denison. 
However, there is more.
To be wired a case need only have one scenario in which there is not a level playing field. This Dension case is instructive as there are three separate areas in which the case abhors the concept of justice and fairness. The factual proof is particularly troubling as it reflects corruption that is so common and so difficult to address.
Larkin has the burden of proof. By burden of proof I mean he has to prove each and every element of his assertions by clear and convincing evidence. If Larkin has done so that decision can list as an example each statement that was proven false. No statements are delineated. Once Larkin has disclosed the statements that he claims are false he then has to present competent evidence of each statement’s falsity. Competent evidence is evidence not conjecture, supposition, or conclusions. For instance, in the Gore case it has been pointed out that Alice Gore’s mouth was prospected for gold and 29 teeth were harvested and not one was disclosed an inventory. Larkin must prove that this did not occur. His burden is difficult as the corpse of Alice Gore had 29 teeth missing from it! 
The Sykes case 09 P 4585 (Circuit Court of Cook County) is also replete with irregularities. Larkin appears to allege and his cronies affirm that Mary Sykes did not have any gold in her safety deposit box to be stolen. The decision and the proof however do not address the issue. There is no specific statement in the opinion or anywhere else that can be tortured to suggest that any witness or any document provided a scintilla of evidence that Mary’s safety deposit box did not have all the gold that Gloria Sykes’ affidavit claimed. For instance: Larkin did not provide an inventory maintained in the ordinary course of business as to what the contents of the safety deposit box were. Larkin did not produce Mary Sykes to testify as to the contents of the safety deposit box, nor did he tender the guardian who admittedly garnered the contents of the safety deposit box. The guardian did not deny that she moved over a million dollars in gold coins from the safety deposit box! No evidence, except in a ‘wire case’ is not sufficient proof to prove any proposition.
How then is this fact (i.e. the gold in the safety deposit box) proven untrue? Larkin knows or should know that Gloria Sykes was a co—owner of the safety deposit box. Search the record in the Denison case. You will find no testimony of Sykes to back up Larkin’s assertion. In fact, there is not a scintilla of evidence that this statement or any other statement made in the blog, or made by any other person as to the corruption of Stern, Farenga, Schmiedel, the guardian, or the Judge is false. You will however find that Judge Stuart first denied chaining Ms. Sykes in Stuart’s courtroom and then pointing out that she only did this once.  You also find that Judge Stuart resigned shortly after Ms. Denison raised the issue as to possible perjury by Judge Stuart. The answer to the question – as the panel was pre=disposed to find Denison guilty of something no proof was required except that Dension complied with 18 USCA 4 and she therefore causes inconvenience to the miscreants that Larkin was aiding and abetting.
An analysis of each assertion by Larkin meets a similar scenario. The facts have been determine ex-parte by the panel and proof is not required of Larkin. Any proof presented by Denison is dismissed as not relevant. Such is the definition of a ‘wired proceeding.’
What is so serious in these ‘wired proceedings’ is the fact that Denison can expect, just as both Amu and I learned that the review panel and the Illinois Supreme Court will affirm. The facts do not matter! This is the typical rape situation – Larkin gives the advice of just lie down and enjoy no one cares about the indignity that is being afford you.
I’ve written to the Justice Department and in particular Mr. Holder. I did so because Mr. Holder against all odds and his own well-being is reported to be the guiding angel behind the prosecution during President Clinton’s era the highest ranking Democrat in the House of Representatives, Daniel Rostenkowski. Representative Rostenkowski committed a criminal act and Mr. Holder would not look the other way. Mr. Holder did this against the advice of just about everyone and because he has integrity and I for one am grateful and hopeful that Mr. Larkin will also receive justice.
 A wired case is one in which because of clout, politics, or dishonesty one of the parties is not going to enjoy a level playing field and is predetermined to obtain an adverse decision. The decision that was handed down in the Denison case, the Amu case, my case and a bunch of similar cases are all submitted as wired.
The summons required to be served on Mary pursuant to 755 ILCS 5/11a – 10 was not available in the Clerk’s office. Thus in prior years, both Waller and I would go to the clerk’s office with a grievance and together we would draft the proper document. Schmediel upon entry into the case would check to ascertain if jurisdiction had been properly obtained as it is in the interests of both parties to a dispute to see that the boiler plate is present.
  Of course we had dishonest judges. Some of the most venal were worse than exist today; however, the lawyers who regularly went to Court knew who they were and avoid them like the plague. When a corrupt judge could not be avoided we did what we called: “try the case for Appeal.” This procedure was more cumbersome but it had to be done. The fixer lawyer was not happy as he now had to work and he had to deal with unpleasantness. For me it was an outlet for me to address my aggressions in a socially acceptable manner. Instead of fighting with my wife, it would give me an opportunity to express whatever anger that I harbored with letters, motions, and in some cases practical jokes.
 Of course Larkin and the Denison decision is silent as to the fact that there was an obvious cover-up in which two guardian ad litem participated. This cover up included but was not limited to filing intimidate proceedings in the form of Rule 137 motion (false pleadings) knowing that no pleadings had been filed and no jurisdiction had been obtained. Larkin and IARDC do not seek to obtain for the Mary Sykes estate for these obviously improper charged by Stern, Schmiedel et al. What is particularly interesting is the fact that the Denison opinion suggests that the over-charges by Stern, Farenga, and Schmiedel were due to the 18 USCA 4 reports to law enforcement by concerned citizens. The opinion never explains how the requirements of Federal law are not applicable to felonies committed by the corrupt judicial officials and their appointees (including the appointee’s attorneys).
 Guardianship is also limited by 755 ILCS 5/11a – 3.
 The Americans with Disabilities Act outlaws the very retaliation that is occurring in the ‘wired proceeding.’ Larkin and his cronies on the IARDC panel are aware of this however, they feel that they are immune to the protections of law. It is for this reason that these matters are published on the various blogs and reported pursuant to 18 USCA 4 to Law Enforcement.
 Why is Ms. Denison singled out? Many other blogs have been raising a hue and cry concerning this scandal? How does Mr. Larkin and the IARDC justify the discrimination? It is suggested that there is substantial corruption within the judicial community and in particular the IARDC. 18 USCA 371 appears to give a substantial insight into this situation.
 It should be noted that the Commission is required to prove their claim by clear and convincing evidence. Clear and convincing evidence is not false conclusions by the two guardian ad litem and the attorney for the petitioner. The standard is more that whether or not the guardians are credible (as the decision points out to be its standard). Clear and convincing is something almost akin to the criminal standard of beyond a reasonable doubt.
 This Denison case exemplifies a common pattern that is followed in the Amu case and also in my case. In my case in Discovery Larkin admitted that he had no information as to what statements were false etc. I had offended the Devine right of the IARDC by my inquiry pursuant to Rule 137 and my letter to Attorney General Holder pursuant to 18 USCA 4 complaining of the violation of Mary Sykes’ civil and human rights. Mr. Amu’s offense was that he has a dark hue to his skin.
 When family members of Gore complained of the National Socialist guardianship of their loved one Larkin reported to them the guardians (including the GAL who orchestrated the events) had not been guilty of any ethical violation. Larkin was not concerned that the War Crimes trials in 1945 after World War 2 deplored such activities. The War Crimes trials may not be precedent in the State of Illinois and it may be ethical conduct for attorneys to harvest the teeth of victims of elder cleansing, but theft is unethical. Larkin in refusing to address this situation either ignores his obligation to the public or he is claiming a precedent that a certain group of attorneys and judges are special citizens entitled to special immunities not to be given to the rest of the citizens of Illinois. Equal protection of the law in Larkin’s world does not have the same meaning as it has in the rest of world.
 The transcript of proceedings is reported to have deleted this testimony, but a number of court watchers reported it and shortly after Ms. Denison raised the issue Judge Stuart suddenly resigned from the bench.
—– Forwarded Message —–
From: “Complaint, ADA (CRT)” <ADA.Complaint@usdoj.gov>
To: kenneth ditkowsky <email@example.com>
Sent: Tuesday, November 25, 2014 3:29 PM
Subject: Regarding your recent correspondence with the Department of Justice
The Disability Rights Section has received your email. This is an automatic response generated by computer. Please keep a copy of this response for your records.
We will review the information you have submitted and will notify you of any action this office will take with respect to the issues you have raised. Please be advised that this office receives a large volume of correspondence from the public. If you do not hear from us within 8 weeks, you may contact us to determine the status of our review. You can check on status either by sending a follow-up email to ADA.firstname.lastname@example.org or by calling (202) 307-0663 (voice or TDD) or by calling the ADA Information Line at 800-514-0301 (voice); 800-514-0383 (TDD).
To expedite processing of your status check, please include the words “status check” in the subject line of your email and include your name, the name of the entity that was the subject of your initial email, and the date of your original email.
Thank you for bringing these matters to our attention.
Disability Rights Section Staff
Rules and Decisions
DECISION FROM DISCIPLINARY REPORTS AND DECISIONS SEARCH
|Filed November 21, 2014
In re JoAnne Marie Denison
Commission No. 2013PR00001
Synopsis of Hearing Board Report and Recommendation
The Administrator filed a one-count Complaint against Respondent, arising out of numerous statements she made on an internet blog attacking the integrity of judges and attorneys involved in a pending adult guardianship proceeding. The Complaint charged Respondent made those statements knowing they were false or with reckless disregard for their truth or falsity. Respondent denied misconduct.
The Hearing Board found the Administrator proved Respondent made false statements concerning the integrity of the judges, knowing they were false or with reckless disregard for their truth or falsity, and engaged in dishonest conduct and conduct prejudicial to the administration of justice. The Hearing Board found, while Respondent had accused judges and other attorneys of criminal conduct, there was not clear and convincing evidence that she presented or threatened to present criminal charges, in order to obtain an advantage in a civil matter. Based on In re Karavidas, 2013 IL 115767, the Hearing Board dismissed the charge Respondent engaged in conduct which tends to defeat the administration of justice or bring the courts or the legal profession into disrepute.
Given the seriousness of Respondent’s misconduct, and aggravating factors including Respondent’s conduct in the disciplinary proceedings, the Hearing Board recommended that Respondent be suspended for three years and until further order of the Court. The Hearing Board declined to recommend disbarment given the mitigating factors present.
BEFORE THE HEARING BOARD
REPORT AND RECOMMENDATION OF THE HEARING BOARD
The hearing in this matter was held on January 21, 2014, January 22, 2014, January 23, 2014, January 24, 2014, March 10, 2014 and March 11, 2014, at the Chicago offices of the Attorney Registration and Disciplinary Commission (ARDC), before a Panel of the Hearing Board consisting of Sang-yul Lee, Chair, Ziad Alnaqib and Eddie Sanders, Jr. Sharon D. Opryszek and Melissa A. Smart appeared on behalf of the Administrator. Respondent was present at the hearing and appeared pro se. On February 10, 2014, Nejla K. Lane filed an appearance as additional counsel for Respondent and appeared at subsequent hearing dates.
The Administrator filed a one-count Complaint against Respondent on January 8, 2013, which was served on Respondent on January 24, 2013, through the attorney representing her at that time. The Complaint charged Respondent with misconduct based on statements she made on a web log (blog) regarding judges, attorneys and other persons involved in an adult guardianship proceeding.
Respondent, through counsel, Kenneth Ditkowsky, filed an Answer on February 8, 2013. After Ditkowsky was disqualified from representing her, Respondent filed a pro se Answer on May 28, 2013. She also adopted prior counsel’s Answer. Following motions by the Administrator to strike, Respondent filed a response which included a “Summary of Answer Information” (Summary). By Order dated August 5, 2013, prior counsel’s Answer, Respondent’s pro se Answer and the Summary were considered, collectively, as Respondent’s Answer. In essence, Respondent admitted some of the factual allegations of the Complaint, denied other factual allegations and denied misconduct.
The Administrator alleged Respondent committed the following misconduct:
Numerous issues were raised, and resolved, during the prehearing stage of these proceedings. We leave the prehearing record to speak for itself and address those issues only as needed for purposes of our decision on the charges of misconduct and sanction recommendation.
The Administrator presented testimony from Jim Halberg, Peter Schmiedel, Cynthia Farenga, Judge Jane Louise Stuart, Adam Stern, Ricky Krakow and Respondent. Administrator’s Exhibits 1 through 49, and 51 through 53 were admitted into evidence. (Tr. 97-98, 119, 127-34, 457, 1113, 1174, 1844).
Respondent presented testimony from Gloria Jean Sykes, Beverly Cooper, Kenneth A. Cooper, Yolanda Bakken and Kathleen Bakken. Respondent also testified on her own behalf. Testimony from Scott Craig Evans was barred. Respondent’s Exhibits A through J, pages 3 and 4 of K and Q were admitted into evidence. (Tr. 135, 141, 1848, 1854).
FINDINGS OF FACT AND CONCLUSIONS OF LAW
The Administrator must prove the misconduct charged in the Complaint, by clear and convincing evidence. In re Winthrop, 219 Ill. 2d 526, 542, 848 N.E.2d 961 (2006). Clear and convincing evidence is a degree of proof which, considering all the evidence, produces a firm and abiding belief it is highly probable that the proposition at issue is true. Cleary & Graham’s Handbook of Illinois Evidence, sec. 301.6 (9th ed. 2009). Clear and convincing evidence is not as stringent as the criminal standard of proof beyond a reasonable doubt, but requires more than the usual civil standard of a preponderance of the evidence. Bazydlo v. Volant, 164 Ill. 2d 207, 213, 647 N.E.2d 273 (1995); People v. Williams, 143 Ill. 2d 477, 484, 577 N.E.2d 762 (1990).
Extensive evidence was presented, which included substantial text from the blog which is the subject of these proceedings. We reviewed the evidence as a whole, even though this report discusses only that evidence we considered most relevant to the issues presented.
The statements at issue concern an adult guardianship proceeding and persons involved in that proceeding. Mary G. Sykes (Mary) was the subject of the proceeding, in the Probate Division of the Circuit Court of Cook County. (Adm. Ex. 1 at 1).
In July 2009, one of Mary’s daughters, Carolyn Toerpe, filed a petition seeking to be appointed guardian of Mary’s person and estate. Attorney Harvey Waller then represented Toerpe. In this petition, Toerpe alleged Mary, age 90, was disabled due to dementia and memory loss. (Adm. Ex. 1 at 1). Multiple doctors had diagnosed Mary with dementia and considered her incapable of making her own personal and financial decisions. (Tr. 586, 859).
Shortly after Toerpe’s petition was filed, the court appointed attorney Cynthia Farenga to act as guardian ad litem (GAL) for Mary. On August 26, 2009, the court appointed attorney Adam Stern special GAL. (Adm. Ex. 1 at 2, 3). Both Stern and Farenga acted as GALs for Mary thereafter. (Tr. 797-98, 1022). The role of the GAL is to provide information to the court, assist the court in making a proper decision in the case, and represent the alleged disabled person’s best interests. While the GAL does not advocate for the alleged disabled person’s wishes, the GAL does inform the court of the person’s wishes in relation to the guardianship. (Tr. 582, 795-96, 955). Farenga testified Mary never told her Mary wanted a lawyer. (Tr. 882).
There was significant controversy among Mary’s relatives, which played out in the probate proceedings and other litigation. Mary’s other daughter, Gloria Sykes (Gloria), filed counter-petitions which, while alleging Mary was disabled due to dementia, sought to have someone other than Toerpe appointed guardian. Numerous issues were raised in the probate proceedings. The court’s jurisdiction was challenged, multiple times, based on the sufficiency of the notice given to Mary and her sisters of the guardianship proceedings. Those challenges were
unsuccessful, despite multiple appeals by Gloria. Gloria attended court on multiple occasions, as did other relatives. (Tr. 403-405, 584, 602-606, 737, 815; Adm. Ex. 1 at 3, 4, 5). Disagreements over visitation with Mary began shortly after the probate case was filed. From the perspective of some relatives, Toerpe was isolating Mary against her will and improperly obstructing efforts to visit with Mary. (Tr. 1187-90, 1249, 1306-1307, 1411-12, 1415-16).
In December 2009, the probate court found Mary incompetent and appointed Toerpe her guardian. Before this order was entered, the court heard evidence as to the respective plans of Toerpe and Gloria for Mary’s care and gave relatives, including Gloria, the opportunity to question Toerpe about her care plan. (Tr. 258-59, 735, 872, 1025, 1426; Adm. Ex. 1 at 8).
After the guardianship order was entered, disputes continued. Attorney Peter Schmiedel began representing Toerpe. Many of the disputes concerned emotionally charged issues. There were ongoing disagreements about the nature and quality of care Mary was receiving. Accusations were made that Toerpe and her husband abused and neglected Mary. Visitation remained an ongoing, contentious issue. Two incidents exemplify the situation. Mary’s 84-year-old sister, Yolanda Bakken (Yolanda), described going to Toerpe’s home to visit Mary and being shoved by Toerpe and Toerpe’s husband. (Tr. 581, 747, 860, 1187-90, 1301, 1313-14, 1318-19, 1353-54, 1411-13, 1416-18). In a separate incident in June 2013, Naperville police were called, by Toerpe or at her request, when Gloria and other persons, including Respondent, went to the assisted living facility where Mary was residing. (Tr. 461, 464, 1073-1077).
As noted above, the family was involved in other litigation. That litigation included actions to partition a joint tenancy between Mary and Gloria as to one house and to evict Gloria from another house, owned by a trust of which Toerpe was trustee. (Tr. 595-96, 1603-1604; Adm. Ex. 39 at 8). In addition, in June 2009, Mary had accused Toerpe of financially exploiting
her and filed a petition for an order of protection. Some of Mary’s relatives believed Toerpe’s petition for guardianship was filed in response to the petition for order of protection. (Tr. 490-91, 1337).
There was also controversy concerning another lawsuit (the Lumbermen’s case). The Lumbermen’s case involved the house Mary and Gloria owned in joint tenancy (the brown house). Gloria, who had been living in the brown house, alleged she contracted cancer due to conditions in the home. The brown house had been seriously damaged by mold. The trust owned Mary’s home (the white house). In August 2002, Gloria had moved into the white house and was living there with Mary. Gloria described a very close relationship between herself and Mary. (Tr. 482-86, 589-90, 595).
The Lumbermen’s case settled in October 2008, for approximately $1.3 million. Of that amount, approximately $700,000 was to be paid to Mary and Gloria. In October 2008, Mary executed a document (the Apportionment Agreement), which purportedly relinquished her interests in the Lumbermen’s settlement to Gloria. Respondent notarized Mary’s signature on the Apportionment Agreement. (Tr. 264, 280-83, 587, 591-92). Conflicting evidence was presented as to whether or not Respondent had any further involvement in the Lumbermen’s case or with the Apportionment Agreement. (Tr. 264-65, 800).
In the probate proceedings, issues were raised as to Mary’s mental capacity to execute the Apportionment Agreement and what, if any, portion of the Lumbermen’s settlement proceeds might belong to Mary. In November 2009, the probate court entered an order freezing assets in an account held by Gloria, until these issues could be resolved. Additional issues were raised as to the manner in which Gloria had handled settlement proceeds, her compliance with court orders and whether Gloria owed Mary any additional sums for the mortgage. These matters
became the subject of significant controversy. In 2013, after a contested evidentiary hearing, the probate court found Mary lacked the mental capacity to execute the Apportionment Agreement and set that agreement aside. However, the court still had to determine how much of the proceeds belonged to Mary. (Tr. 587-96, 680-83, 800-802, 810-13, 818).
Respondent had attempted to file her appearance for Gloria in the probate case, in November 2009. (Tr. 255). Prior counsel had withdrawn. (Tr. 1684; Adm. Ex. 1 at 5). The GALs objected, on the grounds Respondent might be called as a witness, particularly as to Mary’s mental capacity to execute the Apportionment Agreement. On December 7, 2009, the probate court issued an order disqualifying Respondent. (Tr. 261, 799-803, 1023-25; Adm. Ex. 1 at 7-8).
Respondent is not charged with any misconduct in relation to notarizing the Apportionment Agreement. We draw no negative inference from the fact that she did so.
We also express no opinion on the merits of the positions of differing factions in the Sykes family. Those issues are well beyond the scope of this proceeding. The case before us involves Respondent’s conduct, not the propriety of decisions reached in any other proceedings.
I. Respondent is charged with making a statement she knew was false or with reckless disregard for its truth or falsity concerning the qualifications or integrity of a judge, adjudicatory officer or public legal officer in violation of Rule 8.2 of the Illinois Rules of Professional Conduct (2010) and engaging in conduct involving dishonesty, fraud, deceit or misrepresentation, in violation of Rule 8.4(c) of the Rules.
A. Evidence Considered
Beginning in November 2011, Respondent wrote and administered an Internet blog about the Sykes case. The blog consists of a series of writings, by various persons, including Respondent. Respondent made numerous blog posts over time. Some of those writings concern probate court and the probate system in general. Other writings relate specifically to the Sykes case and persons involved in it. The blog alleges corruption, in probate court in general and the
Sykes case in particular. For a time, there were two blogs, one of which described itself as “(a)n attorney blog concerning corruption and greed in the Probate Court of Cook County,” because Respondent used hosting sites which offered different features. (Tr. 318-19, 606-610, 820-21, 1026-28, 1647; Adm. Exs. 17-32, 34-49). For simplicity, we designate them as the blog.
Respondent testified she produced the blog as a private person not as an attorney. (Tr. 384). Respondent also testified her knowledge and skill as an attorney was required to post and author the statements on the blog. (Tr. 410). On the blog, Respondent stated she published the blog primarily from a legal standpoint and it took an attorney to make the comments appearing on the blog. (Tr. 411-12). When Respondent began keeping track of time she spent on the blog, she calculated its value using her hourly rate as an attorney. (Tr. 410; Adm. Ex. 17 at 20). As admitted in Respondent’s Summary, the blog was open to the public. Respondent estimated, by the time of the hearing, her blog had an audience of about 40,000. (Tr. 318).
The blog includes allegations of wrongdoing by specific individuals involved in the Sykes case. (Tr. 608-610, 821, 1026-28). These allegations are summarized in a “Table of Torts.” While those persons are referenced by initials, the Table identifies the persons to whom the initials refer. Respondent prepared the Table of Torts. Because Respondent periodically added material to the Table of Torts, more than one version is in evidence. Respondent acknowledged the exhibits fairly represent snapshots of the Table of Torts. (Tr. 288-91, 303, 1594-95, 1611-14; Adm. Exs. 33, 34).
On the blog, Respondent described the Table of Torts as “TEN PAGES of questionable behavior, corruption, misfeasance, malfeasance, perpetration of misdemeanors and felonies,” occurring in the Sykes case, (Adm. Ex. 24 at 16), and as a “Summary of the Case! – 90%+ of the wrongful conduct all in one convenient place.” (Adm. Ex. 21 at 10). We begin, therefore, with
the Table of Torts, for the purpose of providing an overview of the blog and context for the statements with which Respondent is charged.
The Table of Torts lists various acts, which allegedly occurred beginning in 2009 and continuing into 2012. Those acts suggest: a guardian was appointed even though Mary did not want or need one, Toerpe was appointed and allowed to remain guardian even though she had stolen from Mary and did not take proper care of Mary, the GALs and probate court ignored these circumstances as well as objections from Mary’s family, intimidation tactics were used and judges took action even though they knew they did not have authority. (Adm. Ex. 33). The following statements exemplify the content of the Table of Torts:
Probate court finds Mary G incompetent DESPITE numerous videos on internet showing a confident, clear thinking woman who knows she wants to live at home ? (and) be cared for by Gloria, her daughter who supported her for 11+ years. When Mary was in court, twice she tried to ask the judge to object and get an attorney. Judge Connors refused to let her say anything. (The GALs), who stand to benefit from declaring Mary incompetent, keep on saying that Mary does not object? (Id. at 3).
Dr. Rabin and Dr. Amdur sign off on medical reports?that Mary is incompetent, yet they know that she suffers from conditions that would affect cognitive ability testing?No CBC or BSL test is performed prior to cognitive testing?.No depositions or discovery is allowed by Gloria. The GAL’s [sic] turn a deaf ear to this. (Id. at 4).
(Toerpe) removes money from Mary G’s local bank. Mary G?discovers this and has a fit. Contacts attorney on her own, files Petition for Protective Order?.
(GALs and probate court are) made aware of theft of money but fail to investigate?.(GALs) know that (Toerpe) is the Respondent in a Petition for a Protective Order involving theft of assets from Mary G and do nothing about it. When it is mentioned to the (probate court) judge, ignores it?. (GALs) willfully, wantonly and recklessly aide [sic] and abet the filing and granting of (Toerpe’s petition for plenary guardianship). (Id. at 1).
(Toerpe) keeps Mary in near isolation? (Id. at 2). ? Mary stays at (Toerpe’s) and contracts an infection but is not provided medical care. She loses 10% of her body weight and cannot swallow?.Mary G was also severely dehydrated and near hospitalization. This is reported to the court, the GAL’s [sic] and they ignore the abuse/neglect. (Id. at 9).
Family members complain bitterly about missing gold coins and cash missing?.(This is reported to GALs) and no investigation is made?The GAL’s [sic] turn a blind eye. (Id. at 2).
The (probate court) denies (Gloria’s) repeated requests for discovery? (and) ? strikes all of Gloria’s Pro Se pleadings? (Id. at 2)?.
Documents are filed with the court which are not read. (Id. at 7).
(GALs) obtain a court order to freeze Gloria’s funds?ALL her accounts are frozen- not just the ones in the order, leaving her penniless on a Friday afternoon. (GALs and Waller) are immediately contacted, but do nothing. (Id. at 3).
(Toerpe) shuts off Gloria’s gas in her home ? (Schmiedel and) ?Chase, the mortgage holder on Gloria’s property? ‘secure’ the property-by bashing out interior walls, disconnecting security cameras, throwing rooms full of furniture into the snow? (GALs) stand by, watch the felonious behavior and do not file a Petition to Remove (Toerpe) ?. Clearly someone desperately wants Gloria gone and intimidation is one (albeit illegal) avenue. (Id. at 5).
(The GALs) file a bogus ARDC complaint against (Respondent)? (The probate court asked Respondent) ?you don’t want to lose your law license, do you?’ (Id. at 6).
At the time of the hearing on Dec. 10, 2009, neither (of Mary’s sisters) received the proper Soldini [sic] notices advising them of their rights to object to the guardianship itself, object to appoint (Toerpe) as a guardian; remove the Guardian for improper behavior?(Id. at 4).
(In dealing with the Lumbermen’s proceeds, despite alleged procedural irregularities), Judge Connors says she does not have to follow Illinois law of judgments and that she can set aside any order in any court at any time. Since the limitations period has run, the funds should be immediately unfrozen by the GAL’s. The GAL’s [sic] stand by and do nothing. (Id. at 6).
The Table of Torts also contains statements, which are among those set out in the Complaint to support the charges of misconduct. Those statements are as follows:
(The GALs, Toerpe, Waller and Schmiedel) stand to benefit handsomely by declaring Mary incompetent, evicting Gloria, selling her home – all against her wishes. The court does not stop this greed and evil?.
In scary shades of Greylord revisited, (Respondent) notices that (the GALs) are walking the hallways in the judges’ private areas BEHIND the court room ?unescorted trips to the judges’ private area is a sure fire indicator of corruption?
Additional torts. It should be noted that because the Probate case involving Mary is without subject matter jurisdiction, the court and the GAL’s actions were ultra vires or without any authority. Hence, Judge Stuart’s chaining of Gloria to tell all about her bank accounts was false imprisonment. Further, (the GALs and Toerpe) sent numerous pleadings by USPS and via the internet, and those would constitute mail fraud, wire fraud (comcast [sic] is a wired service) and cyber fraud. Thanks to (Ditkowsky) for pointing this out.
(Adm. Ex. 33 at 7; Adm. Ex. 34 at 42, 44) (Table of Torts post).1
Operation Greylord was a federal investigation of widespread corruption in the Cook County court system. As a result of Operation Greylord, numerous attorneys and judges were charged with, and convicted of, federal crimes. The crimes typically involved attorneys bribing judges to whom their cases were assigned, to obtain a favorable result. (Tr. 641, 775, 1607).
The Complaint identifies ten specific blog posts, made between April 19, 2012 and August 21, 2012, to support the allegations of misconduct. Respondent admitted the Complaint accurately stated these blog posts. (Tr. 333-34).2 Posts on the blog from some of those dates include submissions attributed to persons other than Respondent. However, as to all of the specific language charged in the Complaint, either Respondent admitted authoring the language (Tr. 341, 853, 867-68, 1541, 1553, 1570-71, 1573-74, 1594, 1620) or way the language appears on the blog, e.g. above Respondent’s name, indicates she did so. (Adm. Ex. 22 at 4-5, 11; Adm. Ex. 23 at 7; Adm. Ex. 24 at 2; Adm. Ex. 25 at 1-2; Adm. Ex. 26 at 18-19). The posts specifically identified in the Complaint are set out below.
The first post is from an entry on April 19, 2012, which suggests Mary had a large estate but “has been fleeced of her home, about a million in gold coins?as well as other property the family can and would verify if given a chance.” (Adm. Ex. 22 at 5). The language at issue appears in the context of statements that Respondent and Ditkowsky have been working on the blog, in an effort to inform others of the situation involving Mary. The charged language reads:
those attorneys who will churn fees at hundreds of dollars per hour-want us silenced. They apparently have a lot of clout in Probate and even with the ARDC?
And I would like to note (JMD) that if you follow the money trail, it leads directly to the Plenary Guardian, the GAL’s [sic] Adam Stern and Cynthia Farenga, and the Guardian’s attorney’s [sic] Harvey Waller and Peter Schmeidel/Dorothy Soehlig!
(Adm. Ex. 22 at 4-5) (Apr. 19 post).
Schmiedel has a colleague named Deborah Soehlig. (Tr. 616). Respondent’s initials are JMD.
The second post is an entry on April 25, 2012. After referencing a separate case which, allegedly, included circumstances like those in the Sykes case, the charged language stated: “(a)s in the Sykes case, currently the GAL is adding other attorneys to the case to outlawyer the daughter and churn the feeding frenzy [sic] – all with court connected lawyers.” (Adm. Ex. 22 at 8-9; Adm. Ex. 39 at 10-11) (Apr. 25 post).
The third post (the Black post) is dated April 28, 2012. This entry purports to be from a facsimile transmission to Lea Black, the attorney who initially represented the Administrator in these proceedings. (Tr. 347-48; Adm. Ex. 22 at 11). In the Black post, Respondent referred to the Sykes case and stated there was a clear pattern “to exclude, snub, snob and ignore any pleading that Gloria filed,” while granting, “anything offered either orally or by mere hint of suggestion by the tortfeasors,” Stern, Farenga and Schmiedel, “without findings, no hearing, no discussion, and often without any written Motion or Notice of Motion.” (Tr. 352; Adm. Ex. 22 at 11). The Black post continued with the following language:
Isn’t this the classic case of corruption?…
The judge in the Probate Court declared in August of 2011 she did not have to follow court rules or Illinois Statutes pertaining to Civil Procedure in Court-she was exempt. Then she grants this privilege to the court officer miscreants-and now it is clear for the world to see this is a continuing pattern, ala Dorothy Brown
who has finally provided some meager form of computerization to the Circuit Courts.
Why aren’t the Circuit Courts of Cook County computerized when the federal courts have been computerized since 200? 1) a thousand incompetent and computer illiterate patronage workers would have to be fired in a single day ? and 2) politically connected judges and their puppet attorneys (the GAL’s [sic]) would be exposed for what they are: money grubbing, family strife churning leeches that create nothing but pain and misery in a family while swiping free parking money out of a well funded estate.
(Adm. Ex. 22 at 11).
The fourth post is dated May 24, 2012. To put the charged language in context, the blog post from that date began with the heading, authored by Respondent: “(f)rom Ken Ditkowsky – Reasons for a number of agencies to get involved and investigate.” (Tr. 1573; Adm. Ex. 23 at 7). Text followed, apparently authored by Ditkowsky, which complained of the manner in which Mary was found incompetent, called for an investigation and stated the determination Mary was incompetent was “a foregone conclusion orchestrated by an agreement” between the GALs and the guardian’s attorney. (Adm. Ex. 23 at 7). This theme continued in text posted by Respondent, which included comments that honest attorneys, “the ones not making a profit from corruption,” who report their suspicions of theft by “the court and the authorities,” become the subject of groundless complaints, while “the miscreants dance away with impunity.” (Adm. Ex. 23 at 7). The language charged in the Complaint was part of the text Respondent posted regarding the Sykes case. That language stated: “(a)gain, the entire case was railroaded, the file was peppered with packs of lies, and these lies were rubber stamped by (the GALs) and the Probate Court in a ?done deal.’ Scary.” (Adm. Ex. 23 at 7) (May 24 post).
The fifth post, from June 1, 2012, asserted a transcript, to which the blog provided a link, shows Judge Stuart side stepping the major issues in the case. (Adm. Ex. 24 at 1). The language
at issue appeared in one of three postscripts, following Respondent’s name at the conclusion of the post. That language read:
?from this transcript, it is clear the judge is talking to the miscreant attys in the hallway, Scott and Gloria always see them coming from behind the judge’s private areas, and it is clear that the court is being spoonfed BS law by atty miscreants rather than having to actually read cases and make decisions based upon briefing schedules.
(Adm. Ex. 24 at 2) (June 1 post).
The sixth post, from July 7, 2012, consisted of a letter from Respondent to Kevin Connelly at the Office of the Sheriff, Circuit Court of Cook County. In this letter Respondent suggested corruption in the Sykes case for multiple reasons, including lack of jurisdiction, the court and GALs acting without authority and documents missing from the court file. Respondent also suggested corruption was the reason she was not permitted to use a laptop in probate court, particularly in relation to the Sykes case. The letter stated “(a)ny day now this will blow and it may well create a scandal more far reaching than Greylord.” (Adm. Ex. 25 at 2). Respondent’s letter included the statements at issue, i.e.:
I am an attorney running a blog on http://www.marygsykes.com/, which appears to be a very corrupt case, with corruption reaching to the highest levels, including the ARDC?.
So, just let me know if you are on the side of cleaning up the courts or if you are a SOP patronage worker that fears every day to be thrown under the bus for whistleblowing. You get a choice today. I think Judge Evans made his choice. Too bad it’s now permanently on the internet tagged under “corruption.”
(Adm. Ex. 25 at 1-2) (Connelly post).
The seventh post was language from the Table of Torts. The language charged is the language contained in the Table of Torts post, set out above.
The eighth item charged involved a document posted on the blog which purported to be a motion by Farenga to dismiss the Sykes probate case for lack of jurisdiction (motion to dismiss
post). The motion listed Farenga as the preparer. This post included a notice, suggesting Farenga intended to present the motion to the court. (Adm. Ex. 26 at 15-17). Farenga did not prepare these documents, which were contrary to her position in the Sykes case, or authorize their preparation. Respondent prepared these documents. (Tr. 850-54. 867-68).
The ninth post charged consisted of a facsimile transmission of correspondence from Respondent to Diane Saltoun, at the office of the Illinois Attorney General. The blog stated Respondent’s fax to Saltoun was accompanied by her “famous” Table of Torts. (Adm. Ex. 25 at 12). In her correspondence, Respondent stated:
(w)hile the above case has a long, long history, much of which is documented on a blog to be found at http://www.marygsykes.com, the reality of the situation is that this probate proceeding boils down to garden variety theft, embezzlement, malpractice and malfeasance by attorneys and the court?
Please look at the attached and all the information I will fax you shortly. This is a case that could be bigger than Greylord-what is being done to deprive grandma and grandpa of their civil rights and how the Probate court (routinely) operates.
(Adm. Ex. 25 at 12-13) (Saltoun post).
The tenth post was an entry from August 21, 2012, entitled “(a)ltered court orders, fabricating attorneys, the sage continues.” After referring to orders in the probate case, with links to two of those orders, the language charged appeared. That language read:
(n)othing like the time honored true fashion of if you don’t like what the order said when the parties agreed, just get the judge behind closed doors and get her to alter it. And do it messily and have two ?entered’ stamps on it.
Even a grammar school child can forge a parental note with more skill and care than the minimal amount which was taken in this matter to cover up the tracks of their torts by these bumbling miscreants!
(Adm. Ex. 26 at 18-19) (Aug. 21, 2012 post).
Respondent’s blog contained a disclaimer. The disclaimer identified the authors as “lawyers trying to make a difference to make things better for grandma and grandpa.” (Adm.
Ex. 17 at 2). Respondent relied on the disclaimer, which, from her perspective, made it clear the blog was not a full or accurate record of the proceedings, but a place where commentary, facts and opinions were stated. (Tr. 303, 1531-32). The disclaimer suggested statements on the blog were statements of opinion and directed the reader where to go for “accurate details.” (Adm. Ex. 17 at 2-3). The disclaimer also stated:
Sorry, but portions of this blog have to be entertaining so we can get the word out?. There is most certainly a great deal of (stinging) truth in it, esp. for the GAL’s [sic], the probate court and a society that ignores (thereby condoning) the sleazy world of probate, and in particular the 18th floor of the Daley Center in Chicago, but everyone needs to understand, these are not pleadings, there is no Motion, Response and Reply set by any court, together with extended legal argument recorded by a court reporter and subject to a Motion to Reconsider if errors or new evidence is found. So don’t’ take it that way. Like a good reporter, do your own due diligence and check with the sources first.
(Adm. Ex. 17 at 3).
The blog also suggested statements on it were truthful. Specifically, the blog stated, as its mottos, “‘(s)unlight is the best disinfectant'” and “‘if the truth can destroy something, then it deserves to be destroyed.'” (Adm. Ex. 17 at 1).
Farenga is an attorney, licensed to practice law in Illinois in 1979. Stern is an attorney, licensed to practice law in Illinois in 1994. Each is in private practice and very experienced in guardianship and probate matters. Neither Farenga nor Stern had encountered Respondent prior to the Sykes case. (Tr. 794-800, 1019-1024).
Schmiedel is an attorney, licensed to practice law in Illinois in 1974. Schmiedel has extensive experience in guardianship and probate matters. Schmiedel became involved in the Sykes probate case in early 2010, as attorney for Toerpe. (Tr. 579-81, 587).
Cook County Circuit Judge Jane Louise Stuart was elected as a judge in 1996. She described extensive experience. Judge Stuart has presided over the Sykes probate case since late 2010. By that time, Mary had already been found disabled. (Tr. 942-45).
Normally, only one GAL is appointed in a case. Farenga and Stern testified a second GAL was appointed for Mary because, early in the proceedings, there was a court date which Farenga could not attend. Both remained on at the request of the judge because it appeared, early on, the case would be very time-consuming. (Tr. 798-99, 946-48, 1022; Adm. Ex. 1 at 3).
Mary’s estate was not large, and funds were needed for Mary’s care. (Tr. 629, 816-17, 838). The trust, which had owned the white house, contained some money, since the house had been sold. The trust was an entity separate from the probate estate. (Tr. 619-20). The probate estate’s anticipated annual receipts were $13,000. Early in the probate proceedings, Toerpe and Gloria each suggested Mary had limited means and did not own substantial personal property. (Tr. 807-808, 872; Adm. Ex. 1 at 1, 5, 6). Judge Stuart, Farenga and Stern testified, to the best of their knowledge, the only assets in Mary’s estate consisted of her claim to a portion of the Lumbermen’s proceeds and her interest in the brown house. While $150,000 to 200,000 remained from the Lumbermen’s settlement, the court had not determined what, if any, of that amount belonged to Mary. Mary’s net equity in the brown house was not significant, as that property was jointly owned, subject to a mortgage and heavily damaged by mold. (Tr. 588, 593, 818-19, 952-53, 960-61, 1034).
None of the petitions for guardianship mentioned gold coins. (Tr. 869-70; Adm. Ex. 1 at 1, 5, 6). Farenga testified Ditkowsky, not Gloria, first raised the issue of gold coins and the amount changed continuously. (Tr. 870-72). Judge Stuart testified the issue was addressed in court multiple times. According to testimony from Farenga, Stern and Judge Stuart, even though they inquired, they were never presented with specific information or any real evidence showing Mary’s estate included gold coins. (Tr. 884, 957-59, 971-74, 1049-1050). Schmiedel testified no such coins exited. (Tr. 642).
Farenga and Stern each had spent hundreds of hours on Mary’s matter, for which they had not been compensated. They did not expect to ever be paid in full, since Mary’s estate was of limited value and any funds would be needed for Mary’s own future care. Each testified they had not received any money from the estate. The only money either of them had received was approximately $16,000, which was far less than the value of the time they had spent. While that payment was not court approved, it was paid by the trust, not the estate, so court approval was not required. (Tr. 815-20, 1029-31). Farenga and Stern had not filed fee petitions. Judge Stuart likewise testified no money had been paid to the GALs from the estate. (Tr. 959-60).3 Judge Stuart testified, other than the salary she received as a judge, she had not received any benefit from the Sykes case. (Tr. 961-62).
Schmiedel estimated his firm had provided legal services worth $200,000 in the probate case and related cases. Schmiedel testified the only money he received in the Sykes matter was court-approved fees of $12,500 from Mary’s estate and modest additional fees from the trust, which paid Schmiedel for work relating to the sale of the white house. (Tr. 619-20).
Farenga, Stern and Schmiedel were each asked about numerous specific blog posts and specific allegations of wrongdoing in relation to the Sykes case. In each instance, they testified the allegations were not true. Those allegations included churning fees, receiving improper payments, bribing judges, financially exploiting Mary, stealing from Mary’s estate, ex parte communications with judges to fix the case and altering court orders. None had been in the area of the judges’ chambers in relation to this case. Schmiedel’s testimony indicated there were legitimate reasons for an attorney to be in the area of chambers; for example, one probate judge conducts mediations in chambers. (Tr. 610, 618-42, 646-50, 775-80, 821, 824-43, 846-50, 854-59, 1028-41).
Judge Stuart testified everything concerning the Sykes matter was handled in open court. Judge Stuart testified she ruled based on the evidence and was not part of any conspiracy to rule in a specific way. While she typically receives a draft order from an attorney involved in a case, Judge Stuart testified, if the draft did not conform to her ruling, she modified the draft before entering her order. Judge Stuart was asked about, and denied, specific allegations of wrongdoing, including bribery, ex parte communications, financial exploitation of Mary and having any personal interest in the Sykes case. (Tr. 959-71).
The blog’s allegation that the probate judge stated she did not have to follow procedures involved the fact that the probate court addressed issues concerning the Lumbermen’s proceeds after the normal deadline for challenging a final judgment. However, the issues presented to the probate court concerned Mary’s capacity to sign the Apportionment Agreement, i.e., the validity of the contract between Mary and Gloria, not the Lumbermen’s judgment. (Tr. 588, 680-83, 800-802, 948-49, 1567-68).
In relation to the allegations of coercion against Gloria, the probate court had entered an order freezing the remaining proceeds from the Lumbermen’s settlement, until ownership of the funds could be determined. According to Judge Stuart’s testimony, when it appeared the funds had been disbursed, Gloria was questioned several times, but claimed not to know the whereabouts of the money. Judge Stuart testified she had her deputies take Gloria to a quiet place, to contemplate whether or not to inform the court where the funds had been deposited. Judge Stuart testified Gloria returned with information three or four minutes later. (Tr. 950-53). Judge Stuart testified she did not direct her deputies to handcuff Gloria and, at the time, was not aware that had occurred. (Tr. 1008-1009). Farenga testified she was not involved in any allegedly overbroad implementation of the order freezing Gloria’s account. (Tr. 891-92, 896-
97). Schmiedel denied being involved in termination of gas service to Gloria, damage to her home or removal of her furniture. (Tr. 752-55).
Respondent testified she made statements on the blog based on her knowledge of the case and discussions with others. Respondent had attended court proceedings in the probate case and reviewed pleadings and transcripts. She had spoken with family members, including Gloria and Mary’s niece, Kathleen Bakken (Kathleen), as well as Gloria’s former attorney. Gloria’s former attorney had stated he thought the Sykes case was being railroaded and told Respondent, when he asked for discovery, the judge asked why he would want it. Given those discussions, Respondent considered the procedures in the Sykes case highly unusual and the case very corrupt. (Tr. 285, 1349-50, 1571-72, 1582-83, 1588-89, 1600, 1684, 1687-89). Respondent testified she had also received numerous complaints from people dissatisfied with the probate system in general. (Tr. 1531). Respondent testified, when she made the blog posts, she believed her statements were accurate. Respondent testified she never put an entry on her blog which she knew was not true or with reckless disregard for its truth or falsity. (Tr. 300-304, 361-62, 1672, 1675).
Respondent testified, when she was in court, she observed the judge rolling her eyes, cutting Gloria off and telling Gloria to be quiet. Respondent stated a number of orders were entered without a briefing schedule or after pleadings from Gloria had been stricken. Respondent described one occasion, on which she based the claim the GALs and Schmiedel fabricated orders, in which a draft order was prepared, which Respondent and Gloria saw, but the order entered did not match the draft. The alteration involved the inclusion of language stating a motion relating to jurisdiction was being denied, because it had been presented many times in the past. Respondent testified, on one occasion when she was present, she observed the attorneys
going into the area of the judges’ chambers. (Tr. 1554, 1574-79, 1628-31). Respondent testified many pleadings were missing when she reviewed the court file. (Tr. 1569-70).
Respondent testified she thought she had sufficient information to believe there were improper activities, like those in Greylord, based on her review of the court file. According to Respondent, attorneys had billed for many services, and those bills were approved by the court, but the services were not rendered. While no cash had changed hands, Respondent believed theft had occurred because cash and gold coins were missing. (Tr. 1699-1702).
Respondent testified, in stating certain persons stood to benefit from declaring Mary incompetent and evicting Gloria, she meant they would get substantial fees, which would be taken from sale of Mary’s and Gloria’s home. Respondent stated her reference to churning fees was based on the fact two GALs were appointed and her view the GALs spent a lot of time on matters inappropriately. It was unusual to have two GALs, although Respondent acknowledged Gloria’s litigiousness had played a role in the court’s decision to appoint two GALs. (Tr. 1539, 1596-97, 1602-1604). To the best of Respondent’s knowledge, the GALs had not yet been paid through Mary’s estate. (Tr. 346).
According to Respondent, some of her accusations flowed from the underlying theory that the court lacked jurisdiction and, as a result, none of its actions were legitimate. (Tr. 1616, 1621-28). Other allegations arose from Respondent’s disagreement with specific actions by the court, such as the order freezing Gloria’s accounts and the decision to address issues concerning the Lumbermen’s settlement. (Tr. 1554-55, 1559, 1567-68).
In describing her efforts to verify her allegations, Respondent testified she reviewed the court file and spoke with as many people as possible. Respondent testified she had spoken with Kathleen and with Mary’s sister, Yolanda Bakken (Yolanda) about allegations of missing cash
and gold coins. Respondent had contacted a coin shop where she believed such coins might have been purchased; Respondent had not obtained any real information from the shop. (Tr. 1676-77, 1681-82). Respondent identified a number of additional steps she took to investigate. According to Respondent’s testimony, some of those steps were still in progress, such as investigating the size of Farenga’s mortgage, which Respondent considered to be disproportionately large. In other instances, Respondent had taken the actions only recently, such as having an investigator run background checks. Respondent stated she checked property records, particularly for judges, which Respondent described as raising some questionable issues. (Tr. 1722-28, 1731-46). In relation to the size of Farenga’s mortgage and various property transfers in which Farenga’s husband had been involved, Respondent testified she had not yet been able to conclude there had been any wrongdoing or criminal conduct. (Tr. 1738-39). Respondent also testified she had not found any suspect mortgage issues involving the judges in the Sykes matter. (Tr. 1740-41).
In relation to the Connelly post, Respondent considered it highly improper that she was not permitted to blog during the Sykes probate proceedings. (Tr. 1584-88). Respondent testified she wrote to Connelly to seek his assistance in letting her use her laptop, so she could blog and thereby, in her view, help clean up corruption. (Tr. 1590-92). In asserting corruption had reached the highest levels, including the ARDC, Respondent testified she meant numerous complaints had been filed with the ARDC but did not receive responses Respondent considered appropriate. (Tr. 1589). The Connelly post included a comment that Cook County Chief Judge Timothy Evans was permanently tagged under corruption. Respondent described an internet tag as an index feature which allows people to find a particular post or brings people to the blog who might be interested in its contents. She testified other blogs concerning probate used corruption as a tag. (Tr. 1592, 1813, 1820-22).
Gloria testified, beginning in 2009, she and Respondent had numerous discussions about corruption in the probate court of Cook County. Gloria testified she told Respondent, in the probate division, it appeared there was a cottage industry of attorneys, the court ignored applicable statutes and there was lawlessness and discrimination. (Tr. 517-18, 521, 524).4
Yolanda testified the probate judge ignored her and Gloria, the GALs and the court had not really listened to what was going on, and the GALs had not properly informed the court of the family’s concerns about Mary. Yolanda testified, when she tried to inform the court of Toerpe’s interference with her efforts to visit with Mary and an ensuing physical altercation, the judge did not permit her to do so and told her it did not matter. Yolanda acknowledged having hearing problems. Yolanda was suspicious, because she did not know where the proceeds from the sale of Mary’s house had gone. Yolanda also believed Mary had quite a bit of gold coins. Yolanda provided conflicting testimony as to any discussions she may have had with Respondent about Mary’s estate. Yolanda assumed someone had been paying the GALs. Yolanda did not have any information about any fees the GALs may have received or any proof the GALs had stolen from Mary’s estate. (Tr. 1184, 1187-89, 1235-37, 1252-56, 1290-1307, 1325).
Kathleen had been at many court hearings and had spoken with Respondent many times about her concerns with Mary’s matter. Kathleen testified multiple decisions had been made which differed from what she thought the decisions should have been. Those included the decision to appoint a guardian and the choice of Toerpe as guardian, over objections from other relatives. To Kathleen, it seemed like the guardianship was a “done deal.” Kathleen testified no one had listened to Mary or dealt with issues as to the lack of proper service. From Kathleen’s perspective, Gloria’s position was ignored. She gave examples, including a refusal by Farenga to give the court a document, ostensibly written by Mary, because Farenga believed Gloria had
dictated the document. That incident was part of the basis on which Respondent relied in alleging impropriety by the court and GALs. Kathleen testified, on some occasions when she was in court, the order entered did not match what Kathleen had heard. She also testified the GALs covered for Toerpe, did not follow up on matters reported to them, ignored “red flags” and did not fully inform the court of Mary’s circumstances. Kathleen gave examples including, but not limited to, the altercation between Yolanda, Toerpe and Toerpe’s husband, an incident in which Mary required emergency room treatment due to lack of proper care by Toerpe and alleged inaccuracies in Toerpe’s inventory. Kathleen testified Toerpe did not permit other relatives to visit with Mary, even though the court ordered Toerpe to allow such visitation, and the GALs did not inform the court about visitation problems, even though Kathleen told Stern about those problems. (Tr. 1339, 1344-46, 1348-55, 1358-64, 1370-73, 1382-92, 1407-1418).
Kathleen testified it seemed someone was benefitting. (Tr. 1335). The number of people involved and hours billed seemed extreme to her. In Kathleen’s view, some proceedings went on longer than they should have, while other things did not get the attention they deserved. She based her view that the judges and GALs had taken money from Mary’s estate on the fact that Toerpe had been appointed guardian and given control over Mary’s assets. Kathleen did not have evidence, knowledge or information the GALs were taking money or overcharging. Kathleen had not told Respondent she thought probate judges were fixing cases or taking money improperly or that the judges or GALs were engaged in any criminal activity. (Tr. 1350-52, 1355-62, 1407-1408).
B. Analysis and Conclusions
Respondent is charged with violating Rules 8.2 and 8.4(c) due to statements made on her blog. The specific statements on which the charges are based are set out above. Although we referred to some other statements, our findings of misconduct are based solely on those
statements which were specifically charged in the Complaint. Given the testimony, and the manner in which the statements at issue appeared on the blog, we find Respondent authored all the statements which were specifically charged in the Complaint.
A lawyer shall not make a statement the lawyer knows is false or with reckless disregard as to its truth or falsity concerning the qualifications or integrity of a judge, adjudicatory officer or public legal officer. Ill. Rs. Prof’l Conduct R. 8.2(a). For the reasons stated below, we find the statements at issue impugned the integrity of the judges involved in the Sykes guardianship case, the statements were false and Respondent made the statements with reckless disregard for their truth or falsity. Therefore, the Administrator proved Respondent violated Rule 8.2 as to the statements involving the judges. It is professional misconduct for a lawyer to engage in conduct involving dishonesty, fraud, deceit or misrepresentation. Ill. Rs. Prof’l Conduct R. 8.4(c). Having proved Respondent made statements which violated Rule 8.2(a), the Administrator also proved, by making these statements, Respondent engaged in conduct involving dishonesty, in violation of Rule 8.4(c). In re Ditkowsky, 2012PR00014, M.R. 26516 (Mar. 14, 2014). We also find, for the reasons stated below, Respondent’s statements accused the GALs of serious misconduct, accusations which were false and which Respondent similarly made with reckless disregard for their truth or falsity. While the GALs are not within the scope of Rule 8.2, (Ditkowsky, 2012PR00014 (Hearing Bd. at 27)), this provides an additional basis for our finding the Administrator proved Respondent violated Rule 8.4(c).5
The statements on which the charges are based, particularly considered as a whole, clearly convey the message that corruption affected the Sykes case and its outcome, with the judges and GALs benefitting, to Mary’s detriment. Specifically, the April 19 and April 25 posts accuse the attorneys of churning fees, having clout in probate and being “court-connected.”
According to the April 19 post, “the money trail” leads directly to the GALs and the guardian’s attorneys. The Black post suggests the result was pre-ordained, the product of corruption, a one-sided decision made by a court which did not consider itself bound by the rules. This theme continues in the May 24 post, according to which the case was railroaded and the decision was a “done deal,” with the court and GALs rubber stamping lies placed before them. The June 1 post suggests ex parte communication with the court, resulting in improper, biased decision making. The August 21 post reiterates this theme, suggesting the attorneys got the judge “behind closed doors” and had her change court orders to better suit their position.
The term “corruption” appears repeatedly in the statements at issue. Corruption implies dishonest or illegal behavior, such as taking bribes. Webster’s New World Dictionary and Thesaurus 140 (2d ed. 2002). This meaning is clear from Respondent’s statements, particularly when the statements at issue are considered as a whole. Respondent’s repeated references to Greylord in the charged statements remove any possible doubt as to the intended message. Operation Greylord was a wide-reaching federal investigation of judicial corruption in Chicago. Bracy v. Gramley, 520 U.S. 899, 901, 117 S.Ct. 1793 (1997). As Respondent’s testimony demonstrates she knew, Greylord uncovered extensive corruption in the local court system, including bribes being paid to multiple judges to obtain favorable results in pending cases. See Guest v. McCann, 474 F.3d 926, 929 (7th Cir. 2007). The statements at issue suggest the same thing was happening in the Sykes case. Respondent further alleges illegal behavior in the Saltoun post, in which Respondent explicitly states theft and embezzlement are occurring in the Sykes case.
The statements at issue, particularly considered as a whole, clearly impugn the integrity of the judges and attorneys in the Sykes probate case. Respondent’s statements create an
impression that Mary was found disabled without supporting evidence, by a rogue court acting without jurisdiction, which did not analyze the facts or apply the applicable law and made decisions to accommodate others based on favoritism and payoffs. Respondent’s statements likewise suggest the GALs were not doing their jobs and not protecting Mary’s well-being, even though they were told of circumstances which should have caused them to challenge the appointment of a guardian in general and the choice of Toerpe in particular, acting in this manner because they had been paid off and were receiving grossly excessive fees. Comments such as “follow the money trail,” references to Greylord and allegations that substantial assets were missing from Mary’s estate, clearly infer that money was taken from Mary’s estate and used to pay off the GALs and the court. Respondent’s statements imply the GALs were paid off to look the other way and do nothing, and the court was paid off to rubber-stamp the guardianship and appointment of Toerpe, regardless of the detriment to Mary.
Based on the evidence, we find such suggestions false. Judge Stuart, Farenga, Stern and Schmiedel all impressed us as credible witnesses. Given their testimony, we conclude no bribes were offered to or accepted by the judges or GALs and no improper benefits were received, by the judges or GALs. The testimony of these witnesses also convinced us there were no improper ex parte communications, improper altering of court orders or any other dishonest conduct in relation to the Sykes case. There was also no indication the judges or the GALs made decisions or adjusted their conduct based on dishonest or unethical factors.
The fact that some persons involved in the Sykes guardianship, for example, the judge who found Mary disabled, did not testify does not change our conclusion. Judges are presumed to be impartial, and allegations of deliberate corruption by a court are presumed false. In re Amu, 2011PR00106, M.R. 26545 (May 16, 2014).
The fact Respondent’s statements were false does not conclude our inquiry. We must also consider whether Respondent made the statements knowing they were false or with reckless disregard for their truth or falsity. This is the state of mind Rule 8.2(a) expressly requires. This is also the state of mind required for the charges of misconduct, under Rule 8.2 or 8.4(c), to pass constitutional muster. In re Zurek, 99 CH 45, M.R. 18164 (Sept. 19, 2002); In re Palmisano, 92 CH 109, M.R. 10116 (May 19, 1994).
Attorneys have certain First Amendment rights. Zurek, 99 CH 45 (Review Bd. at 11). Lawyers have a right to criticize the state of the law. In re Sawyer, 360 U.S. 622, 631, 79 S.Ct. 1376 (1959). They may also fairly criticize a judge’s rulings. Amu, 2011PR00106 (Review Bd. at 11). Similarly, there is a public interest in permitting attorneys to make proper complaints of misconduct by judges and other lawyers. Palmisano, 92 CH 109 (Review Bd. at 8).
However, baseless and unfounded accusations that a judge is corrupt do not fall within the boundaries of protected speech. Amu, 2011PR00106 (Review Bd. at 11-12). The First Amendment does not shield an attorney from professional discipline for making false statements with knowledge of their falsity or reckless disregard for their truth. In re Hoffman, 08 SH 65, M.R. 24030 (Sept. 22, 2010). Likewise, First Amendment protections do not apply where an attorney makes scandalous and defamatory accusations that have no basis in fact. Zurek, 99 CH 45 (Review Bd. at 11).
Some statements on the blog are matters of opinion or criticisms directed at the state of the law. We do not base our findings of misconduct on any such statements. The statements at issue are statements which impugn the integrity of members of the judiciary and other attorneys.6
Respondent testified she believed her statements were true. However, an attorney’s subjective belief in the truth of his or her statements is not the critical consideration. In re
Greanias, 01 SH 117, M.R. 19079 (Jan. 20, 2004). A statement made with no reasonable basis in fact is a statement made with reckless disregard for the truth. In re Harrison, 06 CH 36, M.R. 22839 (Mar. 16, 2009).
Respondent’s accusations of gross improprieties by the judges and GALs in the Sykes probate matter lacked any legitimate factual basis. There simply was no reasonable basis on which Respondent could have believed the probate judges were bribed to reach a specific result in the Sykes case, entered orders based on improper agreements or ex parte communications or engaged in similar types of misconduct. Similarly, there was no reasonable basis on which Respondent could have believed the GALs reaped any improper benefits from the Sykes case or were paid to look the other way, while Mary was abused and her estate looted.
According to the testimony presented, the court’s decisions were issued based on evidence and argument, not any impropriety. Judge Stuart, Stern, Farenga and Schmiedel all denied any impropriety in relation to the Sykes matter, no bribes, no improper payments, no ex parte communications. We found their testimony credible. Respondent did not present any real information to show she had any good faith basis to believe otherwise.
Stern and Farenga each received some funds in relation to the Sykes matter. Each had also performed a significant amount of work. These attorneys had not been compensated for the vast majority of that work. This fact does not indicate dishonesty or malfeasance on their part, nor is it inherently suspect. Instead, particularly after hearing these witnesses testify, we were convinced Farenga and Stern were acting out of concern for Mary and her well-being, and we saw no indication they were taking any funds improperly.
We also found no real evidence Mary had a sizeable estate, from which funds had been, or were being, stolen. The evidence indicated exactly the opposite. Mary’s assets consisted of
an interest in real estate with very limited net value, a still undetermined claim to a portion of settlement proceeds, and minimal income and personal property. Respondent alleged the estate contained much more, including gold coins. The probate court conducted an inquiry, but found no evidence Mary’s estate contained gold coins.
Respondent testified she made some efforts to investigate. Respondent’s testimony confirms she had not come up with anything to substantiate her suspicions. In fact, Respondent’s statements reflected that she had not undertaken any meaningful investigation, prior to making her accusations against the judges and the GALs in the Sykes case.
The Sykes probate case was obviously a contentious legal proceeding. Mary’s relatives disagreed vehemently as to her needs and the manner of her care. The disagreement was presented to the court. The court, as it had to do to resolve the issues presented to it, made decisions. Respondent and some of Mary’s relatives disagreed with those decisions. We express no opinion on the propriety of any of the rulings in the Sykes case. However, disagreement with a judge’s rulings does not provide an attorney with a reasonable basis to allege the judge acted corruptly. Amu, 2011PR00106 (Review Bd. at 10). This would be true even if a ruling may have been incorrect. In re Feldman, 03 CH 23, M.R. 20132 (May 20, 2005).
We reach a similar conclusion in relation to Respondent’s accusations against the GALs. Given the evidence presented, there was no logical or reasonable basis for those accusations. Rather, it appears clear to us that the accusations were made essentially because the GALs did not take positions which aligned with the views of Respondent and Gloria.
Based on the evidence, we found absolutely no rational basis on which Respondent could have believed her allegations of corruption, bribery, Greylord-type activity or the like were true. Therefore, in making such allegations, Respondent acted with reckless disregard for the truth or
falsity of her statements. See Amu, 2011PR00106 (Hearing Bd. at 8) (reckless disregard for the truth is shown where there is no reasonable basis for believing the statement is true).
Respondent suggests she made her comments as a private person, not as an attorney. The facts do not support this theory. At various points, the blog specifically indicates Respondent is an attorney, e.g. identifying the authors as “lawyers trying to make a difference to make things better for grandma and grandpa” and stating “it takes an attorney to make those comments?” In addition, Respondent testified it took legal knowledge to post and author the statements on the blog. Further, despite her theory that she made her statements solely as a private person, Respondent’s public false and baseless accusations of corruption, by specific individuals in relation to a specific case, properly subject her discipline. Ditkowsky, 2012PR00014 (Review Bd. at 12).
The blog’s disclaimer does not shield Respondent from discipline. Despite the disclaimer, which itself asserts some statements on the blog are true, other portions of the blog suggest statements on the blog are true. The statements with which Respondent was charged clearly accused the judges and GALs of corruption, accusations which were false and lacking in any reasonable basis. The fact that elsewhere on the blog Respondent suggests that readers do further investigation does not alter this reality.
II. Respondent is charged with engaging in conduct that is prejudicial to the administration of justice, in violation of Rule 8.4(d).
A. Evidence Considered
In addition to the evidence in Section I A, we consider the following evidence.
After Respondent was disqualified from representing Gloria in the probate case, Respondent continued to go to court in the probate case. Respondent assisted Gloria during some of those hearings, doing things such as suggesting questions for Gloria to ask. Respondent
testified she did this as a friend, not as an attorney. However, in Gloria’s bankruptcy proceeding, Respondent submitted a claim for fees which included billing for time in the probate matter, after Respondent was disqualified. Respondent and Gloria also continued to communicate via e-mail. (Tr. 283-86, 696, 808-809; Adm. Ex. 15 at 41-74).
Stern testified, even though Gloria was acting pro se in the probate case, much of what she did was taken from the blog. According to Farenga and Stern, the blog posts affected the probate case in that Gloria, with Respondent’s support, raised various ancillary issues, which distracted from the real issues in the probate case. Because the parties were dealing with matters raised on the blog, other issues, such as Mary’s entitlement to part of the Lumbermen’s settlement, remained unresolved for years. (Tr. 859-60, 1041-42). Farenga also testified Respondent’s blog posts also created extra work for Farenga, including the need to follow up on the veracity of statements made. (Tr. 924-25).
Schmiedel and Judge Stuart provided similar testimony, stating significant time had been spent dealing with frivolous motions filed by Gloria, which contributed to delays in resolving the case. Schmiedel testified the blog posts adversely affected the probate matter by creating the need to defend against baseless allegations and supporting Gloria in making endless challenges to the jurisdiction of the probate court. Judge Stuart also noted Gloria would bring up issues, particularly jurisdiction, which had previously been decided. Schmiedel testified the blog prompted Gloria to file baseless motions and complaints, in probate court and other courts, and, consequently, created additional work in the courtroom. (Tr. 651, 701-703, 954, 968-69).
B. Analysis and Conclusions
Attorneys may not engage in conduct that is prejudicial to the administration of justice. Ill. Rs. Prof’l Conduct R. 8.4(d). To prove a violation of Rule 8.4(d), the Administrator must prove the administration of justice was actually prejudiced by the attorney’s misconduct. In re
Karavidas, 2013 IL 115767, par. 91. A violation of Rule 8.4(d) can be found where the attorney has engaged in misconduct which undermines the judicial process. Id. at par. 94. Baseless accusations of corruption against judges and attorneys involved in a pending case tend to interfere with the effective functioning of the judicial process. See Hoffman, 08 SH 65 (Review Bd. at 15). Based on the evidence in this case, Respondent’s conduct prejudiced the administration of justice, and the Administrator proved Respondent violated Rule 8.4(d).
As set out above, members of the Sykes family disagreed over the guardianship and the appointment of Toerpe. Respondent had been hired to represent Gloria in matters involving Mary, and Respondent attempted to appear on Gloria’s behalf in the guardianship case. Although she was disqualified and could not act as counsel of record, Respondent remained clearly aligned with Gloria and continued to act in relation to the Sykes probate case, attending court and advising Gloria. Against that background, Respondent proceeded to make baseless accusations of misconduct by the judges and attorneys involved in the pending probate case and false, unfounded allegations which cast doubt on the validity of those proceedings.
According to the credible testimony of the Administrator’s witnesses, as a result of Respondent’s false blog posts, the parties in the Sykes case became embroiled over frivolous and ancillary matters. Statements Respondent made on the blog also served to advise Gloria what to do and encourage her to take unreasonable positions in court, such as the repeated challenges to the court’s jurisdiction. The court and counsel spent significant time and effort dealing with topics raised on the blog, investigating the veracity of statements made on the blog and defending against allegations made on the blog. All of this caused undue complications and significant delays in resolving the real issues in the probate case. Based on the evidence, Respondent’s misconduct undermined the proceedings in the Sykes case.
In Karavidas, the Court concluded the attorney’s conduct did not undermine the administration of justice because Karavidas was not acting as an attorney and was not involved in the judicial process at the time of his misconduct. Karavidas, 2013 IL 115767 at par. 97. Karavidas’s actions were performed solely in his capacity as executor of his father’s estate and the alleged misconduct primarily involved loans Karavidas made to himself from the estate. The Court determined the fact that his conduct eventually became the subject of court proceedings did not suffice to prove Karavidas engaged in conduct prejudicial to the administration of justice. See Id. at pars. 90, 96.
There is a significant difference here. For the reasons stated above, even though she was not counsel of record, Respondent continued to be involved in the Sykes probate case and her misconduct directly impacted that case and persons connected with it. Respondent made false and completely unfounded allegations that the judges and attorneys involved in that pending court proceeding were corrupt. Her conduct, unlike that in Karavidas, was explicitly directed toward the pending court proceedings.
Karavidas also directs that a complaint must plead specific facts to support a charge under Rule 8.4(d). Id. at pars. 72, 97. Based on this principle, in some cases involving unfounded accusations of corruption against judges and other attorneys, the Review Board has reversed findings of conduct prejudicial to the administration of justice. Ditkowsky, 2012PR00014 (Review Bd. at 11); Amu, 2011PR00106 (Review Bd. at 13). The pleading requirements of Karavidas, however, do not preclude finding a violation of Rule 8.4(d) here.
Karavidas is based on the requirement that the complaint sufficiently inform the attorney of the misconduct charged to satisfy due process principles and insure the misconduct charged is misconduct for which professional discipline may be imposed. Karavidas, 2013 IL 115767 at pars.
73, 103. In Karavidas, the conduct which allegedly prejudiced the administration of justice was a breach of fiduciary duty, conduct not specifically proscribed by the Rules of Professional Conduct. In that context, the Court observed: “while an attorney’s breach of fiduciary duty to a nonclient could constitute an act that is prejudicial to the administration of justice? if an attorney is to be disciplined for such conduct, the Administrator must, as a matter of due process, plead and prove that the breach of fiduciary duty had a prejudicial effect on the administration of justice.” Id. at par.97.
The decision in any given case depends on the language of the complaint and the evidence in that specific case. See In re Kirby, 2010PR00098, M.R. 26679 (May 16, 2014) (Review Bd. at 11) (affirming the finding of a Rule 8.4(a)(5) violation). In this case, the Complaint was sufficient to put Respondent on notice of the precise misconduct charged. That misconduct was not nebulous or uncertain. The Complaint charged Respondent with misconduct based on false and unfounded blog posts alleging corruption by the GALs and the judges in a specific pending court proceeding. The Complaint identified certain specific statements to support the charges of misconduct. We have found those statements were false and Respondent made them with reckless disregard for their truth or falsity, in violation of Rules 8.2(a) and 8.4(c). From our perspective, the potential of such misconduct to impact the administration of justice is abundantly clear, and sufficiently so to satisfy the pleading requirements of Karavidas.
Our finding Respondent violated Rule 8.4(d) does not affect our sanction recommendation. That recommendation is based on the proven misconduct, not the number of Rule violations found. In re Gerard, 132 Ill. 2d 507, 532, 548 N.E.2d 1051 (1989). We would recommend the same sanction with, or without, a finding Respondent violated Rule 8.4(d).
III. Respondent is charged with presenting, participating in presenting or threatening to present criminal charges to obtain an advantage in a civil matter, in violation of Rule 8.4(g).
A. Evidence Considered
We consider the evidence outlined in Sections I A and II A. In addition, we consider the following evidence.
The Connelly post consisted of a letter from Respondent to Connelly, in which Respondent stated Chief Judge Evans referred her to Connelly’s office, in relation to her complaints that courtroom personnel, particularly in courtroom 1804, were interfering with her use of a laptop. In context, it appears Respondent intended to refer to the courtroom in which the Sykes case was pending; other evidence suggests this was courtroom 1814. (Adm. Ex. 25 at 1; Adm. Ex. 26 at 1). In her letter, Respondent complained of corruption in probate court and the Sykes case and objected attorneys were not allowed to use laptops when they were “trying to investigate and report the very important news that our Probate court is utterly corrupt.” (Adm. Ex. 25 at 1). Respondent requested that Connelly respond, by permitting attorneys to use laptops or informing Respondent when he was available for a deposition, in anticipation of Respondent filing a civil lawsuit. (Adm. Ex. 25 at 1). Respondent testified she was asking Connelly to help alleviate corruption, by letting people blog in court. (Tr. 1815-16).
The Saltoun post was correspondence Respondent sent to Saltoun, at the office of the Illinois Attorney General. Respondent designates Saltoun’s title as Executive Director or Executive Inspector General. (Adm. Ex. 25 at 12). In addition to posting the correspondence to Saltoun on the blog, it appears Respondent sent a copy to Ditkowsky. (Id. at 13). In the Saltoun post, Respondent stated the Sykes probate proceeding “boils down to garden variety theft, embezzlement, malpractice and malfeasance by attorneys and the court.” (Id. at 12). Respondent complained there was “corruption, cronyism, embezzlement” and suggested gold
and silver coins worth approximately $1 million were missing from Mary’s estate. (Id. at 12). Respondent complained the ARDC had done nothing to clean up the court system and Judge Evans and court security had done nothing about her inability to blog from the courtroom or about documents allegedly missing from the Sykes court file. Respondent directed Saltoun’s attention to the Table of Torts and concluded with the suggestion that this case could be bigger than Greylord. (Id. at 12-13). Respondent testified she posted her fax to Saltoun on the blog to inform others of her current activities. She stated she did so as she thought others might be interested and as a way to show people how to put together a case and ask that it be investigated. (Tr. 1620-21).
B. Analysis and Conclusions
A lawyer may not present, participate in presenting or threaten to present criminal or professional disciplinary charges to obtain an advantage in a civil matter. Ill. Rs. Prof’l Conduct R. 8.4(g). The Administrator must prove the elements of the Rule violation charged. In re Owens, 144 Ill. 2d 372, 378, 581 N.E.2d 633 (1991). The Administrator must do so by clear and convincing evidence. In re Winthrop, 219 Ill. 2d 526, 542, 848 N.E.2d 961 (2006). The Administrator did not prove the elements required for a violation of Rule 8.4(g), by clear and convincing evidence.
Respondent is charged with violating Rule 8.4(g) based on the presentation or threat of criminal charges. To prove this charge, the Administrator was required to prove clear action presenting or threatening to present criminal charges, communicated to the intended target of such a prosecution. See In re Lavelle, 94 CH 187, M.R. 11951 (Mar. 26, 1996) (Hearing Bd. at 11). There also must be a clear connection between the presentation or threat of criminal charges and a purpose of gaining an advantage in a civil matter. See In re Schaaf, 99 SH 64, M.R. 17387 (Mar. 23, 2001).
The following cases illustrate the type of proof which satisfies the requirements of Rule 8.4(g). In In re Mauro, 06 CH 18, M.R. 21548 (May 18, 2007), while representing a client in a claim for civil damages, Mauro communicated with the opposing party and suggested he would pursue criminal charges if the opponent did not agree to settle the civil claim, which arose out of the same incident. The attorney in In re Levin, 05 CH 71, M.R. 22344 (May 19, 2008) was representing a client in a pending civil lawsuit. The opposing party filed a motion to dismiss, supported by an affidavit, signed by Burke, an attorney. Levin informed Burke he intended to depose Burke and send the deposition transcript to the ARDC. The Hearing Board found a violation, concluding Levin was using the threat of disciplinary proceedings to attempt to get Burke to change the position stated in his affidavit. Levin, 05 CH 71 (Hearing Bd. at 19).
The case involving Ditkowsky, whose misconduct arose out of his involvement in the Sykes matter, provides a helpful comparison. Ditkowsky sent e-mails to Farenga, Stern and Schmiedel, with copies to law enforcement personnel, in which Ditkowsky stated the other attorneys were involved in illegal conduct, he was giving them an opportunity to back off and law enforcement officials had no excuse not to prosecute. Ditkowsky also sent an e-mail to the GALs, with a copy to local police, in which Ditkowsky suggested substantial property had not been inventoried and could be split, and called on the recipients to ask the State’s Attorney to investigate. Farenga and Stern testified they understood Ditkowsky’s e-mails to threaten criminal charges. Ditkowsky acknowledged part of the reason he sent these e-mails was to induce the GALs to “take a stand for Mary” and inform the court about the problems Ditkowsky believed were occurring in relation to Mary. The Hearing Board found a violation of Rule 8.4(g), based on its conclusions that statements in Ditkowsky’s e-mails clearly implied a threat to bring criminal charges, Farenga and Stern interpreted the e-mails as threatening criminal
prosecution and Ditkowsky was seeking to prompt Farenga and Stern to take a position consistent with the position Ditkowsky was seeking to advocate in the Sykes matter. Ditkowsky, 2012PR00014 (Hearing Bd. at 34-35).
This case is different. Many of the statements with which Respondent was charged allege criminal activity was occurring. However, the other elements necessary to prove a violation of Rule 8.4(g) were not established, particularly not by the requisite clear and convincing evidence.
None of the blog posts with which Respondent was charged clearly communicated an effort to use or threaten criminal prosecution to try to induce another person to act in a specific way in relation to the Sykes case. Respondent communicated with Connelly because he was responsible for courthouse security, not enforcement of the criminal laws. While her correspondence suggested corruption existed, Respondent did not ask Connelly to investigate or prosecute any criminal conduct. Her communication concerned her ability to blog. In the Saltoun post, Respondent recited various problems she believed existed in the Sykes case, but the Administrator did not establish the link, required by Rule 8.4(g), to any effort to gain an advantage in a civil case. This is particularly true because the evidence did not show Respondent communicated with the GALs, Schmiedel or others involved in the Sykes litigation about her correspondence with Saltoun. The motion to dismiss post seeks to prompt Farenga to act differently in the Sykes case, but does not threaten criminal charges if she does not do so.
In this case, we also note Respondent’s communications were not communicated directly to persons Respondent was accusing of criminal conduct or, with the possible exception of the Saltoun post, law enforcement officials. Rather, Respondent’s statements were made generally,
on a public blog. Given the facts of this case, and the content of the statements at issue, the Administrator did not prove a violation of Rule 8.4(g), by clear and convincing evidence.
It is clear Respondent did not like the manner in which other persons were acting in relation to the Sykes case. She also clearly expressed her view that criminal conduct was occurring. However, the Administrator did not clearly and convincingly establish, in her blog posts, Respondent was attempting to use the threat of criminal prosecution to induce others to act differently in relation to the Sykes matter. Therefore, based on the evidence in this case, the Administrator did not meet his burden of proving Respondent violated Rule 8.4(g).7
IV. Respondent is charged with engaging in conduct which tends to defeat the administration of justice and to bring the courts or legal profession into disrepute.
A. Evidence Considered
We consider the evidence set out in Sections I A, II A and III A.
B. Analysis and Conclusions
The allegation Respondent engaged in conduct which tends to defeat the administration of justice or bring the courts or legal profession into disrepute does not provide a separate basis for finding professional misconduct. Karavidas, 2013 IL 115767, par.86. Therefore, that charge is dismissed.
EVIDENCE IN MITIGATION AND AGGRAVATION
Respondent was licensed to practice law in Illinois in 1986. She is also a patent attorney. (Tr. 254-55).
Respondent lived in the same neighborhood as Mary and Gloria. She had provided legal services to Gloria at times. (Tr. 274, 280-81, 524). Respondent knew Mary before December 2009 and thought Mary was doing well when Gloria was caring for her. (Tr. 1661-62).
Respondent testified the purpose of the blog was to bring problems in probate court to the attention of the general public. Her goal was to remedy problems she thought existed in probate court and to help other people involved in the probate process. (Tr. 1538-39). Respondent testified she was also seeking to inform the public, so people would be better informed about probate court in general and the Sykes case in particular. (Tr. 1618-20). In Respondent’s view, publishing the blog was also a way of helping Mary and Gloria. (Tr. 412; Adm. Ex. 17 at 20).
It appears various persons communicate via blogs, concerning what they perceive as the evils of the probate system, particularly in relation to guardianships for elderly persons. The opinions expressed on these blogs suggest the system permits elderly persons to be declared incompetent, leaving them vulnerable to isolation and financial exploitation. (Adm. Ex. 39 at 48-57; Adm. Ex. 41 at 33-37, 43-44; Adm. Ex. 44 at 22-31).
Beverly Cooper (Beverly) testified for Respondent as a character witness. In addition to working in a family business, Beverly produces a cable television program on community affairs. Beverly has known Respondent for three or four years. Respondent and Beverly share a concern about probate court. (Tr. 561-66). Beverly testified Respondent had helped many people without being paid. Beverly described Respondent as absolutely dedicated, honorable and charitable, a person of integrity, who considered others before herself. (Tr. 567-69).
Kenneth A. Cooper (Kenneth) also testified as a character witness. Kenneth has known Respondent for two or three years. He considers her honest, trustworthy, hardworking and dedicated. In addition to work in manufacturing, Kenneth produces a blog called ProbateSharks.com. In that capacity, Kenneth comes in contact with many people having difficulty with probate courts, in Cook County and throughout the country. Kenneth testified
Respondent had helped many such persons, free of charge. Kenneth testified Respondent made herself available “all day, any day” and helped anyone who needed help. (Tr. 571-74).
Farenga testified the blog caused her embarrassment and adversely affected her reputation. When Farenga’s name was searched on Google, the blog came up. Farenga testified she had spent enormous amounts of time dealing with Respondent’s accusations. (Tr. 861-64). Farenga testified “I can’t even count the ways that this has adversely affected me financially, emotionally, my reputation.” (Tr. 864).
Stern testified the blog and its allegations came up immediately when an internet search was done on him. Stern testified, since many people use the internet for research, the blog and its allegations were what clients or potential clients would see about him. (Tr. 1036, 1042-43).
Schmiedel testified the blog impugned his integrity with no basis, yet he did not have a fair ability to counter the accusations. Schmiedel testified the blog posts had cost him, his firm and the GALs, as well as Mary’s estate, time and money and forced them to continuously attempt to defend against baseless attacks. Schmiedel testified the Sykes case should have been a simple one, yet the estate and everyone involved with it had been caused huge pain and expense. (Tr. 650-53). In relation to the blog posts, Schmiedel testified:
Obviously they’re upsetting ?. personally and professionally?Nobody should have to endure this, nobody. These are lies. There’s no basis for these lies. They know there’s no basis for these lies. They’re ongoing continuously?
Who should be put through this? I represent a client in a probate proceeding. It should be a simple case. Mary’s doing really well?
And to have to endure this and have the public look at these things and say, wow, is Peter Schmiedel corrupt? Is he bribing judges in the Probate Division? Is that how he practices law?
That’s what we’re accused of.
When asked about the effect of the blog posts, Schmiedel testified various “unnecessary satellite litigation” had been filed arising out of the Sykes matter, including bankruptcy cases and a federal lawsuit against the entire Probate Division. (Tr. 651). Respondent had filed multiple suits, against persons involved in the Sykes case, which had been dismissed. In addition, the day before her disciplinary hearing began, Respondent filed a lawsuit against the GALs, Schmiedel and the Administrator, alleging violation of civil rights. (Tr. 451-56, 654-58, 861-64, 1043; Adm. Ex. 51).
Respondent testified, on the blog, she was not making accusations of criminal conduct and her allegations were of civil torts. Respondent stated this was because she did civil legal work and was not a criminal lawyer. (Tr. 1595, 1704, 1711-12, 1747-48).
For a time, after summer 2013, Respondent took down parts of her blog and password protected the blog. According to Respondent’s testimony, she did so after certain incidents occurred, which Respondent interpreted as threats. (Tr. 319-23). Respondent also made changes to the blog. As a result, evidence was presented as to the content on the blog at specific points in time. (Tr. 196-247, 335-69; Adm. Exs. 17-32, 34-49). Respondent testified she later put back portions of the blog, but modified its language, to use more generic terms or remove terms such as “corruption.” (Tr. 322-26, 338). According to Respondent’s testimony, she rephrased the blog based on advice from attorneys, whom she consulted in relation to this disciplinary matter. (Tr. 381-84). She also testified she sometimes rephrased things on the blog to “see how they would look or how (her) audience would react.” (Tr. 362). After deciding the more generic version “didn’t work,” and given the preferences of her audience, Respondent changed most, if not all, of the blog posts back to the original version. (Tr. 372-73, 381-84).
Respondent denied charging Gloria fees for her time on the blog. Respondent, however, kept track of the time she spent on the blog and prepared a bill to Gloria. Respondent testified she did not expect Gloria to pay her for that time, which Respondent considered the “cost of corruption.” (Tr. 384-87). Respondent defined the cost of corruption as the time she spent assisting persons who sought her assistance but could not afford to pay. At the time of the hearing, Respondent’s blog reported the cost of corruption was over $500,000. On her blog, Respondent sought donations to offset the cost of corruption. (Tr. 387-88, 395-96). She had received a few donations, once in a while. (Tr. 1748).
The Administrator questioned Respondent about certain recent blog posts. These included a blog post from March 9, 2014, before the hearing in this case concluded, in which Respondent referred to a fire, in which a number of persons died. In that post, Respondent asserted the fire had been set intentionally, by employees of the Cook County Public Guardian, for the purpose of destroying records. (Tr. 1767-72). Respondent testified she made this post based on stories she had heard from older attorneys and “probate court victims.” (Tr. 1771). Respondent could not remember the names of any of these attorneys. She had not conducted any investigation into the truth of her accusation that the fire was set intentionally. (Tr. 1771-77).
In making our recommendation as to discipline, we consider the proven misconduct, as well as any aggravating or mitigating factors. In re Gorecki, 208 Ill. 2d 350, 360-61, 802 N.E.2d 1194 (2003). We may consider the deterrent value of a sanction and the need to impress on others the seriousness of the misconduct. In re Twohey, 191 Ill. 2d 75, 85, 727 N.E.2d 1028 (2000). In determining a sanction, we are also guided by the purposes of discipline, which is not to punish the attorney, but to protect the public from incompetent or unscrupulous practitioners,
maintain the integrity of the profession and protect the administration of justice from reproach. Twohey, 191 Ill. 2d at 85-86. While the system seeks some consistency in sanctions for similar misconduct, each case is unique and the sanction must be based on the circumstances of the individual case. In re Timpone, 157 Ill. 2d 178, 197, 623 N.E.2d 300 (1993).
The Administrator requested disbarment. Respondent argued no discipline should be imposed.
Respondent engaged in serious misconduct. On an internet blog which she published, Respondent made numerous posts, over time, in which she impugned the integrity of judges and other attorneys, falsely and without any reasonable basis for believing her statements were true. Such misconduct is quite serious, given the potential it carries to damage the public’s perception of the court system. In re Amu, 2011PR00106, M.R. 26545 (May 16, 2014).
The public naturally perceives attorneys as having particular knowledge concerning the legal system and the integrity of judges. In re Palmisano, 92 CH 109, M.R. 10116 (May 19, 1994). Consequently, public confidence in the integrity of the judicial system can be especially undermined when an attorney makes accusations of corruption. Palmisano, 92 CH 109 (Review Bd. at 8). Where an attorney publicly advances allegations of judicial corruption, the public naturally assumes the allegations are true. Amu, 2011PR00106 (Review Bd. at 10). While appropriate public confidence in the judicial system requires that judges who are dishonest be identified and removed from the bench, baseless and indiscriminate accusations of dishonesty seriously impair the functioning of the judicial system. Id. at 12.
In many cases involving multiple unfounded accusations of corruption by the judiciary, the attorney has been disbarred. In re Jafree, 93 Ill. 2d 450, 444 N.E.2d 143 (1982); In re Zurek, 99 CH 45, M.R. 18164 (Sept. 19, 2002); In re Kozel, 96 CH 50, M.R. 16530 (June 30, 2000);
Palmisano, 92 CH 109. The Administrator relies on these cases to support his request that Respondent be disbarred.
We have considered these cases. In most of these cases, the attorneys made unfounded allegations of corruption in multiple unrelated matters. Jafree, 93 Ill. 2d at 461-62; Kozel, 96 CH 50; Palmisano, 92 CH 109. Such a pattern is not always required. Zurek, 99 CH 45 (Review Bd. at 15). Zurek was disbarred even though his misconduct did not extend to multiple legal matters. However, his particularly disrespectful and disruptive behavior during the disciplinary proceedings, which included walking out of the hearing, suggested his underlying misconduct was not isolated. Id. at 14-16. The seriousness of Zurek’s misconduct was exacerbated because Zurek made his allegations of corruption knowing they were false and in retaliation for adverse rulings by the judge. Id. at 13. No mitigating factors were present. Id. at 14.
Our research has disclosed some cases in which significantly less severe sanctions were imposed. In In re Harrison, 06 CH 36, M.R. 22839 (Mar. 16, 2009), the attorney was censured; his misconduct was an isolated incident, far more confined than that here. In In re Hoffman, 08 SH 65, M.R. 24030 (Sept. 22, 2010), the attorney was suspended for six months and until further order of the Court. Although Hoffman’s inappropriate statements affected more than one matter, they were not made in the very public manner in which Respondent made her statements. Those cases are distinguishable, but illustrate the range of available discipline.
In other cases, attorneys have been suspended for a longer period, with the suspension continuing until further order of the Court. The Administrator has cited two such cases; in each, the attorney was suspended for two years and until further order of the Court. In re Sarelas, 50 Ill. 2d 87, 277 N.E.2d 313 (1971); In re Greanias, 01 SH 117, M.R. 19079 (Jan. 20, 2004).
Sarelas filed multiple lawsuits over a nine-year period against individuals who had been involved in prior disputes in which Sarelas was also involved, as a lawyer or as a litigant. In the lawsuits, Sarelas made false and baseless allegations impugning the integrity of the defendants, who included judges and other lawyers. Sarelas also behaved disruptively in the disciplinary proceedings and sued the persons involved in the proceeding. While observing his conduct warranted disbarment, the Court declined to disbar Sarelas. The Court noted, in mitigation, Sarelas had no other misconduct, in a long career. Sarelas, 50 Ill. 2d at 98-99.
Greanias had represented five individuals in their respective claims before the Industrial Commission. After each matter was resolved, Greanias filed a lawsuit in which she alleged, without any reasonable basis for doing so, the Commissioners and, in some cases, opposing counsel had engaged in fraud, racketeering, conspiracy and/or bribery. In recommending a suspension for two years and until further order of the Court, the Hearing Board considered the seriousness of Greanias’s misconduct, the fact that it did not arise from an isolated incident and her lack of remorse or recognition of her misconduct. The Hearing Board also considered factors in mitigation. Greanias actually believed the defendants had wronged her clients and believed, albeit unreasonably, there was a factual basis for the complaints. She did not act with a self-serving motive. Greanias had practiced law for over 20 years with no prior discipline. She cooperated during the disciplinary proceedings. Greanias had also done pro bono work and engaged in civic activities.
Since Respondent’s hearing concluded, the Court issued its final orders in two cases. These cases are relevant in our consideration of the sanction to recommend in this case.
In Amu, 2011PR00106, the attorney was suspended for three years and until further order of the Court. In four separate matters in which he received unfavorable rulings, Amu falsely
alleged the cases had been fixed and the judges were biased and corrupt. Although Amu testified he believed his statements were true, he did not have any reasonable basis for that belief. While most of the accusations were made in pleadings filed in the cases involved, Amu disseminated some of his accusations further, thereby creating a genuine risk of harm to the reputation of the judges involved. In particular, Amu posted a document on his law firm website in which he accused one of the judges of bias and corruption. Amu did not recognize the wrongfulness of his misconduct and appeared to have no concern for the consequences of his statements. The manner in which Amu behaved during the disciplinary proceedings, which included failures to comply with orders, was considered in aggravation. In mitigation, Amu presented favorable character testimony and had no prior discipline. The Hearing Board declined to recommend disbarment. In doing so, the Hearing Board observed disbarment would not advance the goals of the disciplinary system any better than a suspension until further order of the Court. Amu, 2011PR00106 (Hearing Bd. at 36).
In In re Ditkowsky, 2012PR00014, M.R. 26516 (Mar. 14, 2014), the attorney was suspended for four years and until further order of the Court. Like Respondent, Ditkowsky baselessly accused the judges and attorneys involved in the Sykes case of corruption. There are, however, differences between the two cases. Ditkowsky engaged in additional misconduct, making false representations to a third party about his status in the litigation. Some of his statements were more aggravated; Ditkowsky’s accusations included allegations the judges and GALs were involved in a conspiracy to shorten Mary’s life. Unlike this case, where Respondent posted her comments publicly on a blog, Ditkowsky’s accusations were made in e-mail communications, albeit hundreds of them, directed to specific individuals. There are also similarities and differences in the aggravating and mitigating factors. Like Respondent,
Ditkowsky did not display any remorse or understanding of his misconduct. Both attorneys demonstrated a lack of respect for the disciplinary process and did not appear to understand the purpose of the proceedings. Unlike Respondent, Ditkowsky did not present any mitigating evidence.
The sanctions imposed in the foregoing cases provide a framework for our consideration of the sanction to recommend here. The sanction we recommend is based on the specific evidence in this case, considered in light of this precedent. In particular, we are mindful that the Court upheld the recommendation of a suspension of four years and until further order for Ditkowsky, whose case involved similar, though not identical, misconduct and factors in aggravation. The factors distinguishing the two cases, in our view, balance out such that the sanction we recommend for Respondent is within an appropriate range.
We recommend Respondent be suspended for three years and until further order of the Court. Respondent’s proven misconduct clearly was serious, even if, in isolation, some individual statements might be viewed more benignly than others. Respondent made numerous improper statements and did so over time. Her misconduct could warrant disbarment, particularly when considered with the aggravating factors present. The aggravating factors themselves are significant. However, given all the circumstances, including mitigating factors as discussed below, we have decided to recommend a sanction less severe than disbarment.
Disbarment represents the “utter destruction” of an attorney’s professional life. In re Timpone, 208 Ill. 2d 371, 384, 804 N.E.2d 560 (2004). A suspension until further order of the Court is the most severe form of discipline short of disbarment. Timpone, 208 Ill. 2d at 386. This sanction protects the public and the integrity of the profession in much the same manner as disbarment; specifically, Respondent will not be able to resume practicing law until she
establishes that she is fit to do so. Id. at 388-89. That is particularly important to us in this case, because the circumstances as a whole leave us with very serious doubt whether or not Respondent is willing or able to conform her future conduct to proper legal standards. We also specifically intend to recommend a sanction which is sufficiently severe to impress upon Respondent the need to change her conduct. In the opinion of the Panel, the disciplinary proceedings themselves did not make such an impression on Respondent.
We have considered the Administrator’s arguments as to factors the Administrator regards as aggravating Respondent’s misconduct. We itemized some of those factors above, in aggravation, e.g., the changes to Respondent’s blog and her effort to charge for her time on it, even though we have not addressed them in detail here. We have also considered the arguments of Respondent’s counsel. These are the conclusions we have reached, and which form the basis for the discipline we recommend.
We are mindful of Respondent’s due process right to notice of the misconduct with which she is charged. In re Karavidas, 2013 IL 115767, par. 103. However, under certain circumstances, matters not specifically charged in the Complaint can be considered in aggravation. In re Storment, 203 Ill. 2d 378, 400, 786 N.E.2d 963 (2002). Typically, this depends on the extent to which the uncharged conduct is similar to the charged misconduct and proved by evidence of record. Storment, 203 Ill. 2d at 400. In this case, it is quite fair to consider the scope and breadth of the blog in aggravation. Farenga characterized the blog as a diatribe; this is a very apt description. We consider Respondent’s comments on the blog as a whole, in showing the extent and relentlessness of her unfounded accusations of corruption by individual judges and lawyers.
Respondent’s misconduct caused significant harm. The harm resulting from an attorney’s misconduct is legitimately considered in aggravation. In re Nosal, 2011PR00118,
M.R. 26238 (Nov. 20, 2013). The persons Respondent unjustly maligned testified to ramifications they experienced. The fact that Respondent made her baseless allegations widely available, by posting them on a public blog, created a genuine risk of harm to the reputations of the individuals involved. Amu, 2011PR00106 (Hearing Bd. at 33). We also are cognizant of the damage to the public’s perception of the court system which results when attorneys make false and unfounded accusations of corruption within the system. See Palmisano, 92 CH 109 (Hearing Bd. at 22). In this case, there was also harm, as described by the Administrator’s witnesses, in that the probate proceedings became sidetracked, while the parties addressed frivolous issues raised on Respondent’s blog. According to the testimony, this contributed to inordinate delays in the probate proceedings and those delays harmed Mary, by delaying the resolution of issues pertaining to her well-being, such as the proper distribution of the Lumberman’s proceeds.
Respondent does not understand the nature and seriousness of her misconduct. This is an aggravating factor and, in this case, supports our recommendation that the suspension continue until further order of the Court. See Amu, 2011PR00106 (Hearing Bd. at 31-32). In reaching this conclusion, we considered the record as a whole, including the blog posts on which the charges of misconduct are based, Respondent’s lack of remorse, Respondent’s testimony and statements during the hearing, as well as her conduct in the prehearing stage of these proceedings. The blog posts Respondent made around the time of the hearing reinforce our conclusion that Respondent does not comprehend the nature and seriousness of her misconduct. In these proceedings, Respondent faces the risk of substantial discipline, based on allegations that she falsely accused others of corruption without having any legitimate basis for doing so. Yet, in recent blog posts, Respondent continues to accuse others of serious wrongdoing, without having a clue whether her allegations have any basis in reality. The fact that Respondent would
engage in such behavior, in the midst of this hearing, confirms our view she does not have sufficient insight into her misconduct and our concern over her future ability to conform her conduct to proper professional norms.
Further, Respondent had demonstrated she does not understand certain basic elements of practicing law. For example, Respondent suggested she was not accusing others of criminal conduct, but only civil torts because, in her own practice, Respondent handled civil, rather than criminal, cases. Respondent’s lack of understanding of how to practice law is also apparent from her conduct in the disciplinary proceedings.
Respondent’s conduct in these proceedings is clear from the prehearing record. Among other things, Respondent repeatedly failed to follow the Chair’s orders, failed to comply with the rules of the tribunal, and sought to have the Chair and opposing counsel communicate with her in the manner in which she wished, rather than in a manner consistent with the rules of the tribunal. Respondent raised various issues which have nothing to do with these proceedings, such as asserting that copyright protections precluded use of statements from the blog in connection with these proceedings. The manner in which an attorney conducts herself during disciplinary proceedings is legitimately considered in determining the sanction. In re Cook, 2010PR00106, M.R. 26581 (May 16, 2014). Respondent’s conduct in these proceedings represented a significant aggravating factor.
Respondent has displayed a tendency to inappropriately personalize matters. This tendency was apparent in conduct by Respondent which included filing multiple lawsuits, which had been dismissed, against the attorneys in the Sykes matter. The presence of such a tendency reinforces our concern over Respondent’s ability to conform her future conduct to professional standards. See Amu, 2011PR00106 (Hearing Bd. at 31-32).
At the same time, there are mitigating factors. Based on those mitigating factors, we decline to recommend the ultimate penalty of disbarment.
Respondent presented favorable character testimony. Her character witnesses described Respondent as a person who was generous with her time, made herself available to persons who needed help and did so pro bono.
Respondent was licensed to practice law in 1986, nearly thirty years ago. She has no prior discipline.
While Respondent acted with reckless disregard for the truth of her accusations, based on our impressions of Respondent, we do not believe she was acting out of a deliberate purpose of harming the judges and attorneys involved. Respondent genuinely, though unreasonably, believed something was wrong with the proceedings in the Sykes case. Respondent knew Mary and Gloria before the guardianship. While Respondent used decidedly misguided means, we believe she was acting out of a sincere desire to help Mary. We were also convinced Respondent truly believes there are abuses in the probate system and the system needs to be changed, to protect persons who are the subject of adult guardianship proceedings. From our perspective, it appears Respondent has genuine concern for senior citizens and perceives the senior population as vulnerable, especially to financial exploitation. This concern, as a general matter, is a legitimate one, even though Respondent had no reasonable basis for believing the judges or attorneys in Mary’s case were corrupt.
We do not believe Respondent acted with a self-serving motive. The evidence did not support a theory that Respondent was reaping a significant financial benefit from her activities including operation of the blog.
We recommend Respondent’s suspension continue until further order of the Court. This sanction protects the public, by requiring Respondent to go through a reinstatement proceeding in which she will be required to prove her fitness to resume practicing law. Timpone, 208 Ill. 2d at 388-89. The circumstances of this case, as outlined above and particularly Respondent’s lack of understanding of the ramifications of her conduct and of the importance of following proper legal procedures, leave us with serious doubt as to Respondent’s ability to conform her future conduct to professional standards. These factors warrant continuing Respondent’s suspension until further order of the Court. See Amu, 2011PR00106 (Hearing Bd. at 37-38).
For the reasons stated above, we recommend Respondent be suspended for three years and until further order of the Court.
I, Kenneth G. Jablonski, Clerk of the Attorney Registration and Disciplinary Commission of the Supreme Court of Illinois and keeper of the records, hereby certifies that the foregoing is a true copy of the Report and Recommendation of the Hearing Board, approved by each Panel member, entered in the above entitled cause of record filed in my office on November 21, 2014.
1 Our designation of specific posts refers to the portion of the posted language which is attributable to Respondent and charged in the Complaint, not the entire content of the post.
2 Evidence was presented showing Respondent made certain changes in her blog posts. That evidence does not change our conclusion that the blog contained the language with which Respondent is charged.
3 Schmiedel’s testimony suggested the GALs had not been paid anything at all, but for possible costs reimbursement to Stern. (Tr. 620). We are aware of this possible discrepancy, but it does not change our determination in the case.
4 Gloria’s testimony was interrupted, due to the need to address issues relating to discovery and privilege. Respondent was given an opportunity to determine what items Gloria intended to assert were privileged, produce additional unprivileged documents and recall Gloria as a witness. (Tr. 527-59). This topic was also addressed in a February 4, 2014 status conference. Gloria did not return on the subsequent scheduled hearing dates to complete her testimony. For the reasons stated on the record, the hearing was not continued further. (Tr. 1138-39, 1154-66).
5 Given the allegations of the Complaint, for purposes of our findings of misconduct, we focus primarily on Respondent’s accusations as they relate to the judges and GALs. Respondent also accused others, including Schmiedel, of wrongdoing. Based on the evidence, those accusations were equally false and unfounded.
6 The Black post included comments about Circuit Court Clerk Dorothy Brown and the lack of computerization in the Cook County Court system. We do not base our decision on those comments, which might, arguably, be construed as a matter of protected opinion, rather than an attack on Brown’s integrity or qualifications. See In re Hoffman, 08 SH 65, M.R. 24030 (Sept. 22, 2010) (Review Bd. at 18) (noting constitutional protection for expressions of opinion).
7 Respondent testified she reported wrongdoing to the FBI. It was not clear from her testimony that she did so regarding the Sykes matter or that she informed others of these reports, in an effort to obtain an advantage in a civil case. (Tr. 1706-1719).
One thing I would have to challenge everyone is, can anyone anywhere find another blog a lawyer writes and operates on corruption? Nope. I have never seen one. I have seen others try with issues regarding “unethical” lawyers, etc. But the articles often get the rules of ethics wrong and the law wrong. What good are those?
I submit it is important for lawyers to have and run blogs about what is correct and ethical under the law, so the public is better informed.
Mike Glavic e-mailed me a question. I responded to it with the forwarded e=mail.
When I was informed of Mr. Jerome Larkin’s latest act of domestic terrorist and retaliation prohibited by the ADA I found if I was to look myself in the mirror I had no choice but the demand as forcibly as possible that law enforcement pick up the gauntlet and take the lead in prosecuting the outrages that are emanating from Mr. Larkin’s administration of Illinois commission on punishing lawyers for compliance with 18 USCA 4. The message that Larkin is sending is intolerable. America does not tolerate the exploitation of the elderly and the disabled for the benefit of a few of the political elite. America does not tolerate guardianship for profit, cover=up, obstruction of justice or public officials co-operating with cottage industries designated to isolate senior citizens so that their estates can be ravaged for the benefit of the elite. Harvesting the gold in the teeth of elderly as was done in the Alice Gore case may be ethical behavior by the Larkin’s ilk, but not by civilized society
WE NEED RIGHT NOW AN INTELLIGENT HONEST COMPLETE AND COMPREHENSIVE INVESTIGATION OF LARKIN AND THOSE WHO HE ACTS IN CONCERT WITH. The blog that Attorney Denison promulgated is protected by Federal Statute, the First Amendment *****. The assault on the First Amendment by Larkin and his cohorts cannot be tolerated in the United States of America. A 3 year suspension of Denison’s law license for speaking out against corruption is an insult to every red blooded America!
And of course I will be on Cooper’s Corner this Wednesday at 7:30 pm for those of you getting Cable access on the Northshore. This program will also be broadcast on YouTube when done. A large number of lawyers have told me they have seen me and Ken on Cooper’s Corner and Lanre Amu’s program remains very popular with the most people watching him.
From: RosANNa Miller <email@example.com>
Sent: Nov 22, 2014 1:48 PM
To: “MaryGSykes.com” <firstname.lastname@example.org>, “Dr. Sam Sugar” <email@example.com>, Kevin Pizzarello <firstname.lastname@example.org>, Barbara Stone <email@example.com>, Teresa Lyles <firstname.lastname@example.org>, Robert Sarhan <email@example.com>, Patty Reid <firstname.lastname@example.org>, Doug Franks <email@example.com>, Tom Fields <firstname.lastname@example.org>, Janet Phelan <email@example.com>, Glenda Martinez <firstname.lastname@example.org>, Ginny Johnson <email@example.com>, firstname.lastname@example.org, Joe Roubicek <email@example.com>, KATHLEEN ZAGAROS <firstname.lastname@example.org>, Emma Ladson <email@example.com>, Alyece Russell <firstname.lastname@example.org>, Marti Oakley <email@example.com>, Marcia Southwick <firstname.lastname@example.org>, Marty Prehn <email@example.com>, Ed Miller <firstname.lastname@example.org>, Nancy Vallone <email@example.com>, Steven Nero <firstname.lastname@example.org>, Probate Sharks <email@example.com>, Rudy Bush <firstname.lastname@example.org>, Richard Cordero <email@example.com>, Alan Sayler <firstname.lastname@example.org>, Sherrin Smith <email@example.com>, “Truthbetoldradio (” <firstname.lastname@example.org>, Harry Heckert <email@example.com>, Debby Valdez <firstname.lastname@example.org>, Angela Woodhull <email@example.com>, Fiduciary Watch <firstname.lastname@example.org>, Andy Ostrowski <email@example.com>, Bill Scheidler <firstname.lastname@example.org>, “Mark R. Ferran” <email@example.com>, “Dr. Rich Swier” <firstname.lastname@example.org>, Attorney Dr Richard Fine <email@example.com>
Cc: Kenneth ditkowsky <firstname.lastname@example.org>, Joanne Denison <email@example.com>
Subject: BREAKING NEWS – Write the Chicago Paper in a Editoral Letter about Corruption
Thank you Mr. Ditkowsky, Ms. Denison, Mr. Amu and all others, who risk your livelihood to speak out for us who are being terrorized by those levying War against us, collaterally adhering to our Enemies, giving Aid and Comfort to each other while claiming they are serving the people.
WHEREFORE they have committed treason to our country. Art. III Sec.III CL. II. We demand our Trial by Jury for all crimes pursuant to Art. III Sec.II Cl. III……..”
Instruction on Chicago Tribune Letters to the editor
Guidelines: All letters to the editor are welcome and will be considered for publication or posting online. The preferred method is to e-mail letters to firstname.lastname@example.org or by using this form. You may mail letters to: Voice of the People, Chicago Tribune, 435 N. Michigan Ave., Chicago, Ill. 60611. You may fax letters to: 312-222-2598.
Letters should be timely and should be addressed to the editor; no open letters to other people are printed. Letters must be signed, must contain contact information including letter writer’s city and state, and must be fewer than 400 words. No more than four signatures per letter.
Apparently from the emails I got this morning, I have made the big time among those hated, despised, persecuted unfairly and tormented by miscreants and felons with dozens of emails of congratulations.
From Jane Stillwater, famous author and blog writer:
This Thanksgiving I’m gonna be super-grateful for a lot of things — and one of those things is going to be that I’m not a widow, am not wealthy and don’t live in Chicago.
rom: kenneth ditkowsky
Sent: Nov 22, 2014 7:38 AM
To: “JoAnne M. Denison” , Probate Sharks , Tim NASGA , Nasga Us , “J. Ditkowsky” , Eric Holder , Matt Senator Kirk , Chicago FBI , “FBI- ( (” , BILL DITKOWSKY , Chicago Tribune , SUNTIMES , Janet Phelan , Ginny Johnson , “ComplaintAdmin ADA (CRT)” , Cook County States Attorney , Illinois ARDC , FOX News Network LLC , Bev Cooper , Diane Nash , Barbara Stone , “Y. ACLU” , Scott Evans , Fiduciary Watch , ISBA Main Discussion Group , Edward Carter , Cook Sheriff , “email@example.com” , “Mr. Lanre Amu — Honest Atty Unfairly Persecuted By ARDC” , The Wall Street Journal , Rabbi Moshe Soloveitchik , Sam Sugar , Candice Schwager , Robert Sarhan , Garr Sanders , Sylvia Rudek NASGA , Barbara Stone , The Weekly Standard , Mary Wooley State Police , “David (NBC Universal WRC) Silver” , Sylvia Rudek , Alyece Russell , Eric Blair , “ABAJournal.com” , “firstname.lastname@example.org” , Rudy Bush , Bill Kristol , Barack Obama , The Disability Discussion Docket – Official E-mail List of the Commission On Disability Right <email@example.com>, Len Holland , 60m Cbs News <firstname.lastname@example.org>, Doug Franks , Doug Franks , YJ Draiman , Elaine Renoire , Help Elders , “email@example.com” , FOX News Network LLC , Glenda Martinez , Jay Goldman , “Jim (” , White House , “firstname.lastname@example.org” , Lawrence Hyman , “email@example.com” , “firstname.lastname@example.org” , “email@example.com” , “firstname.lastname@example.org” , Martha Jantho , John Howard Wyman , “Mr. Kim” , Martin Kozak , LUCINDA LAMBERT , Larry Chambers , William Scott <email@example.com>, “firstname.lastname@example.org” , RosANNa Miller , Tom Fields , ACLU of Illinois , Mary Richards , Marty Prehn , Maria 60 Minutes , Marti Oakley , Pam Zuckman NBC , “email@example.com” , “firstname.lastname@example.org” , David Govabuse , “email@example.com”
Subject: Domestic terrorism = A call upon the United States of America to act to protect the First Amendment Rights of All citizens.
And while the ARDC is enforcing a code of silence, I just received this from another lawyer who worked on these cases:
Bed sores, isolation, drugging and death are the means of theft and embezzlement with impunity which is becoming rampant in the nation and cannot be ignored even with attorney disciplinary boards cracking down on dissent among attorneys trying to crush and destroy us.
It won’t work.
I took an oath for truth and justice and to defend the US and Illinois constitutions which, I, unlike other lawyers at the ARDC, took seriously.
It is the nadir of the legal profession to turn a blind eye on rampant greed, theft and corruption of the disabled and elderly who cannot speak for themselves.
I, like Ken Ditkowsky and Mr. Lanre Amu, have become poster children for rampant greed and corruption.
This blog is popular, having reached over 70,000 views. The ARDC does not challenge that figure. Ken will keep on writing and I will keep on publishing and every day I get more and more and more and more stories of greed, corruption and destruction of the US elderly and their families.
Don’t think I will stop. This evil is insidious, long entrenched and there is much work to be done and I am up to it.
My question, why not 3,000 years. I mean if your going to lie and deceive, go big.
So here it is, the ARDC calls me today and I am busy with corrupt cases, most notably the attempts to cause the demise of one Mr. Allen Frake at Sunrise in Park Ridge and you all can find a copy of the Report to the Court that I sent to Judge Quinn, Ted Rhodes and Kerry Peck and Jesse Footlik about how he is clearly doped up, he cannot lift up his head, his voice is now barely inaudible, and the ARDC leaves me a voice mail message that I should call about the results from my trial. I don’t really care and I’m not going to return that message. I know what it will be and the reality is, I don’t want it until I can publish it and tear it apart for all its sublime hypocrisy.
Okay, I already know the results. Since January of 2014, Mr. Seth Gillman, an attorney, has not been disciplined by the ARDC but the US Atty in the ND of Illinois has charged him with about $100 million in Medicare fraud. No discipline by Jerome Larkin. Nope. Not even a hint. Alice Gore has 29 gold teeth pulled and then she is starved and dehydrated to death by the “guardian” and her attorney Miriam Solo. No discipline there by Jerome Larkin. John Wyman’s mother is nearly killed by his guardian, placing her against her will in one of the most dangerous nursing homes in Illinois–Jerome Larkin utterly refused Mr. Wyman’s book I sent over as a complaint detailing the horrors. Sharon Opryszek said the book “was inappropriate.” Got it. Death and destruction reigns with impunity.
Mr. Kerry Peck, I found out from my beloved audience had 3 children who went to law school on the tax payers dime and all were admitted to the bar, and he is still practicing. Huge scandal reported in the Chicago Tribune. JL does not do a thing about that. According to the Trib Article Mr. Peck makes campaign contributions of $120,000 to the “right pols”. Got it. Oh, and btw, he’s also the kind of guy that says it’s okay to dope up the ward, chemically restrain him and leave him in pain, whispering “I want to die”. Got it.
Now we have the 3 years suspension for running this blog.
A blog, are you kidding?
I have not filed an appearance on the Sykes case ($1 million in valuable coins missing, Mary Sykes railroaded, the case without jurisdiction). But I do encourage people in Chicago and the State of Illinois to report corruption and demand investigations. So that’s three years.
Why don’t they just give me 3,000 years?
They want to shut down this blog, they want to keep me from telling the truth, it won’t happen.
I will continue to do it, just as Ken Ditkowsky, WHO HAS DONE NOTHING WRONG AND IS A HERO OF EVERY COURT ROOM VICTIM OUT THERE, has not shut up. He still writes emails, letters and faxes daily from his home. Of course, now he has to deal with his wife, but he can do that too!
Ken is 78 years old and every day he gets up to write letters of protest. Every day I try to blog promoting judicial integrity, honesty and ethics in Illinois courtrooms, and esp. at the Daley Center in Chicago. I have many, many indigent clients that depend upon me. I eschew anyone corrupt and wealthy who lives on corruption.
The ARDC wants to ban the word corruption. I get that.
Every day Ken Ditkowsky now writes and gets others to write letters, faxes and emails to the authorities demanding for a Federal grand jury investigation of Jerome Larkin. I am swept up in that, but I am proud to say I agree with him.
Something is seriously wrong in River City folks, and I will report on that. Today, tomorrow and out into the future.
My heroes are Ken Ditkowsky and Richard Fine and Michael Shakman who have said, enough is enough. Truth and justice must be our goals–not KYA and cover ups and kiss ups and utter denials.
I am here to be the flame for everyone else. I may not have made much money doing this, I struggle every month, but I would rather do that than take a dime from a bribe or any ongoing corruption in the courts. They have broken my windshield at 60 mph on the Kennedy, they have called me with repeated obnoxious threats, they have put sugar in my gas tank. You know what? It is worth it to protect freedom and democracy in Chicago and our nation.
I want to leave this earth with my tail feathers on, and if that means I have to fight the likes of people with millions of dollars, fancy offices and clout and clout and clout. So be it.
Oh, and BTW, just to add to the consternation of the ARDC, I was at the Office of Public Guardian today, one of the worst abusers of the the probate system and with many, many documented complaints and files, and I took up a check and a court order today because the attorney either forgot or could not be bothered to attend court, she never did say what happened, but this is a place where their “wards” complain they were put against their will into locked down nursing homes, chemically restrained against their will. When they escaped, they had to live on the street. When they called the OPG for THEIR OWN MONEY for food or housing, the calls were either never returned or they were told to “go back to the nursing home” where they could be locked up never to see the light of day and be shot up with horse tranquilizers, they were then evicted, put on the street to eat out of garbage cans in winter, sleep in zero weather, and THE OPG NEVER RETURNED CALLS.
These were people with paid up bungalows, cars and bank accounts. Trust funds. Believe me, when the OPG (called by them to be “Office of Public Greed”) got involved all of this was drained and after some years, those “wards” were left destitute and homeless. Then the OPG resigns as guardian. Yeah, right, when all the funds were gone.
The upshot on the OPG? Does it live up to it’s friendly website. Heck no. You have to get “a guard” to escort you up. You have to be on the “visitor list”. You get upstairs and it’s all heavy doors and key fobs and bullet proof glass.
Friendly counselors there to help the aged and disabled? Heck no. They should just put their cash register out front.
So ask not why your government is so corrupt when this is all over, ask what you could have done to prevent it. I am out there fighting each and every day. Please join me.
And thanks to Ms. Chris for volunteering in my office today. I could not spend much time with her, but she was a breath of fresh air.
From: kenneth ditkowsky
Sent: Nov 21, 2014 11:02 AM
To: “JoAnne M. Denison” , Probate Sharks , Tim NASGA , Nasga Us , “J. Ditkowsky” , Eric Holder , Matt Senator Kirk , Chicago FBI , “FBI- ( (” , William Scott <firstname.lastname@example.org>, “email@example.com” , BILL DITKOWSKY , Chicago Tribune , SUNTIMES , Janet Phelan , Ginny Johnson , “ComplaintAdmin ADA (CRT)” , Cook County States Attorney , Illinois ARDC , FOX News Network LLC , Bev Cooper , Diane Nash , “Y. ACLU” , Barbara Stone , Fiduciary Watch , ISBA Main Discussion Group , Scott Evans , Edward Carter , “JoAnne M. Denison” , Cook Sheriff , Glenda Martinez , Eric Blair , “Mr. Lanre Amu — Honest Atty Unfairly Persecuted By ARDC” , “firstname.lastname@example.org” , The Wall Street Journal , Janet Phelan , Rabbi Moshe Soloveitchik , 60m Cbs News <email@example.com>, Candice Schwager , Sam Sugar , “Jim (” , ACLU of Illinois , Martin Kozak , Elaine Renoire , RosANNa Miller , Len Holland , Mary Richards , Jay Goldman , Greg Coleman , Tom Fields
Subject: Another face of EveHow can you tell if your case has been Wired?In a word, you cannot. Except in rare instances is a decision of a court so outrageous that the judgment rendered is obviously the product of corruption of the judicial process. It does occur and every lawyer can point out a group of cases in which corruption is the only explanation of the decision  .Step 1How is the trier of fact contacted so as to gain a decisional advantage? As I’ve mentioned previously the day of the envelope filled with dollar bills is fast receding. More subtle devises are used and diversions are numerous. A job to a family member is most common, however, disguised kickbacks appear to be most common. I use the word kickback in the broadest sense. Judge Holtzer sent his wife to the offices of the attorneys who were targeted and she suggested that they purchase life insurance from her. If you purchased the insurance you won you case, if you did not you lost your case. Also included as a kickback is the gambit of an appointment to a high paying, low work assignment. Another diversion is almost undetectable. A targeted judicial official goes to Chase Bank and borrows a sum of money. Without the judicial official’s knowledge the miscreant pays off an agreed amount of the loan.Of course no one should forget the Campaign contribution. As judges are elected they need war chests to avoid not being retained as jurists! The totally independent wife of the judge manages the Citizens for Judge *** corporation and *****. By paying the taxes due, the generosity of litigant is accessed by the jurist. Step2Now let us assume that the Judge has been compromised. Lawyer think in small steps and few if any have a grand scheme when engaging in litigation. Thus, let us make an assumption that Judge X has agreed with your opponent that for and inconsideration of x dollars a judgment will be entered at the close of the litigation in favor of the defendant.Most litigants assume that the Judge will toss the case out and leave the honest litigant with a mouth full of feathers. Indeed, this does happen with regularity but only by the unsophisticated corrupt judicial officials. There are a great number of these animals in the wild and you can see their handiwork most days on the 18th floor of the Daly Center in Chicago, Illinois. The net effect is that you have blogs screaming corruption, court watchers, and all sorts of ramifications. These miscreants have to rely upon sanctions, intimidation, and similar devices to effectuate their malfeasance. They also need Jerome Larkin to ‘cover up’ for them and thus provide the possibility of another weak link in the chain.There however a more subtle type of procedure that is also widely is practiced which is insidious. The MO is to let the mark win up until a critical point in the litigation. For the purposes of this example the Mark is the plaintiff. This example works in the same manner for the mark being a defendant) Thus, the defendant’s motions to dismiss are all denied. Most of the Motions in Limine presented by the mark are granted and at trial most of the objections of the defendant are over-ruled.After the plaintiff (the mark) has closed his evidence and has no more witnesses to present, the Court orders that parties to brief the motion for a finding at the close of the plaintiffs’ evidence. The Court then has before it:1) The legal theory and it ramifications. If there is a deficiency the judge can focus on it and rule adversely to the plaintiff.2) The evidence that the plaintiff has been presented. If the evidence is not sufficient the judge can rule that the evidence is insufficient.However, if the legal theory is convincing and the evidence is sufficient the corrupt judicial official (jurist, judge) can focus on the credibility of the witnesses. As the trier of the fact having heard all the evidence, observed the demeanor of the witness etc. the judges as the trier of fact could find that the “Pope” and/or the good Lord himself was not a credible witness and virtually no Appellate Court would challenge that finding and the judgment for the defendant. It’s just too bad that yesterday God was not a credible witness.The ‘mark’ can take an appeal, but, it is expensive and not very promising.Here in Illinois we have added another element. We have Jerome Larkin, the miscreants who can access him at the drop of a hat, and his cronies. A lawyer who recognizes the symptoms of the dishonest and corrupt judicial proceeding usually can and will be intimated by a threat of a suspension. Attorney Amu recognized this situation, raised his voice and even though the jurists did not raise serious denials, seek to hold him in contempt etc., in jumped Jerome Larkin and instanter (before any of judges even filed a complaint) Amu received a three year suspension  .ConclusionThe corruption enemy is not a simpleton. There is no easy fix to the problem of judicial corruption. The foregoing notwithstanding we do have a large number of dedicated and honest jurists and we do not wish to throw the baby out with the bath water. We need law enforcement to do an HONEST intelligent complete and comprehensive investigation and enforce the laws. We need law enforcement to remove the Jerome Larkin’s from their positions in which they can protect the criminals who are assaulting our core American values.
 The IARDC decision against me is one of those corrupt decisions that defies imagination. The panel itself claimed without a scintilla of evidence that the two sisters of Mary who were not even listed in the Petition had knowledge of the non-existent incompetency hearing. How they had knowledge is a mystery as there was no testimony that they had knowledge; however, knowledge was not sufficient. It had to be 14 days prior to the hearing that never took place. Exactly how raising this point is a false statement is not explained. Corruption, Fraud, and other felonies under the 5th Amendment do not have to be explained. NB. I did not discuss how a litigant gets to the judge as we all know that when there is a will there is a way. I’ve never bribed a public official so I do not know first-hand the details of the negotiations, but, I do know that such is not very subtle. The few times that a jurist has approached me there was no subtlety involved. Mrs. Holzer bold as brass marched into the office and told me that I was purchasing life insurance from her. I through her out of the office. Judge **** called me on the telephone to tell me the bid was 5. I did not know what he was talking about. The Amu case in my opinion has a racial nexus and should be investigated because in my humble opinion a lawyer with a darker hue to his skin is entitled to equal protection of the law and his clients should not be punished because the lawyer offended Mr. Larkin by being an immigrant from Africa.Larkin’s protection of corruption of the judicial system is not limited to his protection of the elder cleansers. This is the reason that as a step one the keepers of the judicial conscience should be the first targets of any intelligent HONEST complete and comprehensive investigation.
Elder cleansing is a cancer that is eating away the core American values. As Justice Jackson ruled at Neurenberg Germany following orders is no excuse.
An interesting article that makes suicide more of an option to patients.
However, noting the Frake case where 1) the patient fell or was otherwise injured and complains of pain and is not treated or diagnosed–no MRI’s or xrays to the family, etc. 2) the patient is drooling, had uncontrollable tremors indicating psychotropic drug misuse, or use at all, against the patient’s knowledge and consent and access to alternative treatments (In re Tiffany, Illinois Supreme Court) and 3) cannot hold his head up, cannot talk but tells son repeatedly he is in pain, I wonder the value of the report.
Also of interest is the part where in Belgium it is noted that many of the suicides were involuntary and assisted. When, how and why is that not murder. I assume this was where an elder was old, fragile and in pain and could not provide consent, so the decision was made for him. But if you hear of people where were vegetables after accidents and serious medical traumas, they will tell you while they were in a coma, they would hear every word, including the decision to terminate life and they, at that point, knew it was wrong.
We know so very little of life and of death, it is important for everyone to detail their advance directives in case of coma, serious accident or medical trauma where they cannot make decisions for himself or herself. In the Illinois POA and other documents you can say what you want and what you do not want in advance, saving the relatives trauma over end of life decisions. You can arrange for this in advance. You can research it and see what post-coma patients say of their experience. You can even research NDE’s or near death experiences.
The most important issue is that each person make up his or her mind prior to coma or severe trauma and that pain relief is provided, medical marijuana is provided, if that helps. And, of course mainstream medicine has to start exploring alternative pain relief methods (curcurmin and tumeric, rosemary oil) if the patient is not responding to traditional methods of strong narcotics.
Whatever we are doing right now on earth, this situation isn’t working. It isn’t civilized to put grandma or grandpa in a nursing home against his or her will and drug them while they are in pain.
Please pray for the family of Allen Frake. I am afraid this is a situation where no one will step in. I’ll let you know if someone does. I appreciate the cooperation of the family to allow me to post. I know dozens and dozens of stories and about 70% of families find this end of life trauma and in the medical and legal interaction, it is all too difficult to post, let alone file an ARDC complaint.
This is from a pleading that has just been filed and will be delivered to the court tomorrow.
It has been since Monday now and I have heard from no one after I informed Cary Peck of Peck Bloom and Ted Rhodes that Allen Frake’s condition is as follows. In the past I have seen judges fish this stuff out of files and hand it back to the “professional” guardian, ie, the abuser, so that everything can be “taken care of”.
I am tired of this.
If someone wants to volunteer to take this down to the court tomorrow, plmk because I am short on staff, as usual.
REPORT TO COURT ON CONDITION
OF ALLEN FRAKE, WARD
To: See attached Service List
Now comes the son and interested party Gary Frake (“Son Gary”) and reports to the court on the health condition of his father, Allen Frake (“Father Allen”) as follows:
1) approximately 4 weeks ago, this court was apprized that Father Allen was complaining of hip pain, had suffered a fall, and the hip had not been xrayed or been given an MRI, nor was Father Allen seen by a doctor; Father Allen’s head was down during the visit and he was visibly drooling. It appeared that an undiagnosed hip injury resulted in Father Allen requiring a wheel chair.
2) approximately 2 weeks ago, Son Gary reported to counsel for the Guardian of the Person that Father Allen was still in pain, his head was down and he was drooling and said very little. He continued to report pain to Son Gary and this was reported to counsel for the Guardian of the Person who said he would look into it.
3) this weekend, during visitation, even his personal care giver (who Rehab Assist should be properly managing) noted that Father Allen was declining rapidly in the last week. Father Allen continued to complain of pain, he was nearly incomprehensible, and said nearly nothing at the last visit.
4) Father Allen’s situation has become critical. The undersigned counsel of record provided this information to Atty. Cary Peck today and he said he would look into the situation. It was also provided to GAL Ted Rhodes who said the same.
Both the undersigned counsel and Son Gary are waiting for answers and for a doctor’s investigation.
It has now been 4 weeks since initial reports of grave concern to warrant a doctor’s report. It has been 4 weeks since a request to diagnose a possible fall and hip injury and nothing has come from that. It has been 4 weeks since Father Allen needs a wheel chair. However, there is physical therapy at $800 per week but no medical study of the hip and new need for a wheel chair.
Son Gary, Sister Jean Semrow and close family cousin Mike Messer are waiting for answers and wondering why Father Allen is in a wheel chair, is constantly hunched over and now drooling so badly, they put a bib on him.
None of this is normal. Everyone is more concerned about selling Father Allen’s properties than caring for his medical needs. Even a representative from Rehab Assist was gravely concerned.
Gary Fracke would like to be his father’s guardian of his property and estate. He would have had a doctor for his father immediately. He would have taken him for an xray or MRI or whatever the doctor recommended. The court appointed “guardians” seem to do nothing and are at best lackadaisical regarding numerous medical symptom bells and whistles. Their assurances spouted in court were that the nursing home doctor would take care of the situation. It has now been 4 weeks and no reports have been given to the family, Father Allen is in rapid decline, the court passes the buck back to the Guardian of the Person and apparently did not inquire during court this morning, both Atty Rhodes and Atty Peck were informed of the situation from the undersigned counsel and she has heard nothing and the family has heard nothing.
This is a system which really does not work. In fact, it is on the nadir end of dysfunctional. The court was told of the situation, the court passed the buck back to the Guardian of the Person. The situation has not improved. Everyone promises to “look into it” but all they do is find properties to sell–not medical needs for a complete and thorough investigation.
It is not understood how the Guardian of the Person, who apparently is informed of a possible a hip injury and hip pain, cannot produce a doctor’s report, cannot obtain prompt MRI’s and xrays, is the proper person to “investigate” a continuing decline of the ward.
Mr. Mike Messer, a close relative of Mr. Allen Frake further reports to the undersigned:
“[Allen Frake’s] medical guardian Tom Kleinhenz [of Rehab Assist] made over $44,500 dollars last year according to court approved billing. My uncle Al was on a lock unit for all 365 days of this billing period. Tom K, “earned” over $850.00 a week! Most of Tom’s time was spent on keeping family away. Tom admitted to me he did not see Al often because he did not want to upset Al or make him angry.” Email of November 18, 2014.
Father Allen should immediately be sent for a competent and thorough medical investigation of his injuries, his pain and his drooling. No explanation has ever been given for his drooling. Certainly, the University of Illinois or the University of Chicago geriatric center can do the proper independent investigation. Son Gary would like permission to take his father to either and get him the medical help his father needs.
Father Allen wants to go home and live in his own home until he dies. If the Guardian is going to neglect medical needs of the ward, certainly Father Allen can be at home where he is most comfortable to finish his days on earth.
Attorney for Jean Semrow and
Gary Frake, sister and son, respectively
Joanne M. Denison, Atty. No. 14,867
Denison & Assocs, PC
5940 W Touhy Ave, #120
Chicago, IL 60714
CERTIFICATE OF SERVICE
I hereby certify that the foregoing was served on the person noted below by the methods noted below on the following counsel of record on November 18, 2014 by the methods indicated below:
Attys PECK, BLOOM, ET. AL
105 W ADAMS 31ST FL
“Atty Brandon Peck (Blossom Trotter Estate)” <firstname.lastname@example.org>,
“Atty Kerry Peck (Blossom Trotter Estate)” <email@example.com>
Mr. Ted Rhodes
Porikos Rodes and Glavinkas
444 N Michigan Ave, 26th Fl
Chicago, IL 60611
MB Financial Bank, NA
800 W Madison St
Chicago, IL 60607
also by courier to Judge on 11/19/14
PS — Ken assures me that this is SNAFU, or a clear pattern where wards repeated fall until they are wheel chair bound, they are drugged against their will, and then they want to die and do die, being in pain, without diagnosis or treatment from the fall, they are left in a comatose state, unable to speak or communicate they are trapped in their bodies, without hope.
I already have sent numerous emails to the authorities, Dept. of Justice, Attys General Lisa Madigan, Anita Alvarez and Diane Saltoun. I have not heard from a one of them, or that Allen Frake’s condition will be investigated for attempted murder.
On the heels of all of this, I see an article from probate victim Nancy Vallone, RN, who has been fighting for rights for her beloved niece, Danielle Murphy, for years without success because there is just too much money there, and she reports that the “assisted suicide” in nursing homes in Switzerland, available to all residents is coming to the US via Oregon.
René A. Spitz, in the mid-1940s, was one of the first to describe what happened to very young children who spent prolonged periods in institutions where they had no contact with their mothers. Previously happy and outgoing children from six to eleven months old became first weepy and then withdrawn, refusing to take an interest in their surroundings. After three months, Spitz wrote,
A sort of frozen rigidity of expression appeared instead. These children would lie or sit with wide-open, expressionless eyes, frozen immobile face, and a faraway expression as if in a daze, apparently not perceiving what went on in their environment. . . . Contact with children who arrived at this stage became increasingly difficult and finally impossible.Many were unable, or refused, to eat. Spitz described the syndrome not as autism, which experts now believe to have physiological causes unrelated to maternal care, but as anaclitic depression. In one institution nineteen of 123 children studied suffered severe anaclitic depression, and another twenty-six exhibited the syndrome in a milder form.
So, I guess that explains it all. It’s state induced, probate court assisted “anaclitic depression”–where no one cares about you, you are allowed to suffer for months, even years, without human touch or caring, a kiss, a hug, left in a sterile institution, and then the triage begins.
Seems to me, Allen Frake who whispers to his adult son now during visits, immobilized and in pain, “I want to die.”
Anaclitic depression. Got it.
So, here’s to the attorneys that look the other way, like the beleaguered volunteers in a Chinese state run orphanage, this page is dedicated to you: Cary Peck of Peck and Bloom (who only wanted to know who has been told about this and keeps on saying “I will look into it), Judge Quinn who handed back my prior report to the abuser saying “I give this (to the abuse) to look into these claims”, to the court that I cannot email or fax courtesy copies, because there’s no way in the system to do that, to Ted Rhodes, who was aghast on Monday but not aghast to get back to me or the caring family of Allen Frake: Jean Semrow, sister, Son Gary and Nephew Mike Messer. And of course, the Guardian of the Estate just gets to sit by idly and say “All I do is count the money, the yummy money.”
Anyone got any ideas how to light a fire?
Is Allen Frake part of the probate system of involuntary adult assisted suicide coming from Switzerland to the US?
Allen wants to go home. He can now barely whisper this to Gary, and he says he is in great pain to Gary. Ted Rhodes says he thought that was “all resolved”. But does anyone ask Allen? Does anyone let Allen go home? Will anyone take Allen to University of Chicago’s geriactric clinic to get the thorough assistance he needs, hip pain, drugs and all?
I am waiting and watching. This blog goes to many. Who will pass and who will care? Who will cover up and make excuses?
Oh, and in case you want to know, this is all happening in Sunrise Nursing Center in Park Ridge, a beautiful suburb with some of the most beautiful homes and manicured lawns and shrubs in the nation. Hillary Clinton hales from there. And think, just a mile or two away from the house in which she was raised, we have a probate victim ward, trapped in a damaged body in pain, at least a half dozen or more attorneys know about it, and they look at their bank accounts instead. Well as of today, my bank account has $1 in it. I don’t care, I blog. I cry and weep over this wretched system. Jean Semrow today told me I can give up. How do I do that? Is this my “civilization”? I can’t sleep. I didn’t sleep at all last night. I don’t understand all of this. No one ever said it would be like this in Law School. Triage among the disabled, elderly and those who cannot speak for themselves. Attorneys, the ARDC, Jerome Larkin and others turn their heads and look away. There is a need for a grand jury investigation into probate, the 18th floor of the Daley center and the ARDC. The only question is, who is brave enough to do it. I and Ken are brave enough to call for it. We go where no other attorneys dare to go. Who will hear the call and respond? That’s 2 out of 83,000 licensed attorneys in Illinois. Well, Ken isn’t licensed here anymore, they made sure of that. But it is still licensed in numerous other jurisdictions and the ARDC ought to back off on that one.
This Penn. Rep. makes it clear that it is up to the citizens to insist on truth, ethics, justice and integrity in our court system.
Thomas Jefferson, 1821 – “the germ of destruction in this nation is in the power of the judiciary, an irresponsible body, working like gravity, day and night, gaining a little today and a little tomorrow, and advancing its noiseless step like a thief over the field of jurisdiction, until all shall render powerless the checks of one branch over the others and will become as venal and oppressive as the government which we were separated from.’
As indicated in the movie, why aren’t we demanding truth and justice in our court systems, esp. at the Daley center in Chicago. We have the people to demand it. As this short clip answered, we know we are being monitored, controlled and restricted by procrustean laws which hang over our heads like the sword of Damocles.
The answer, therefore, to that question of why don’t we demand justice is–we are all scared as hell.
We don’t need to spend billions and half our budget to “fight terrorists” overseas with bombs and munitions which are the single largest source of toxic pollution in our environment–right here even in the US, we can start with demanding that the powers that be enforce truth, justice, competent and thorough investigations when fraud, courtroom railroading and strings of felonies committed by lawyers, judges, backed by politicians in the larger web of deceit is right here at home, right before us now.
From: kenneth ditkowsky
Sent: Nov 9, 2014 5:46 PM
To: Andy Ostrowski , “firstname.lastname@example.org” , ‘Todd Krautheim’ , ‘Josh Silver’ , “email@example.com” , ‘Janet Phelan’ , ‘Jeffrey Norkin’ , “‘JoAnne M. Denison'” , ‘der Hoaxster’ , “firstname.lastname@example.org” , ‘Eric Holder’ , ‘Tim Lahrman’ , ‘Glenda Martinez’ , ‘Candice Leonard Schwager’ , ‘Talkshow Host Alfred Lambremont Webre Esq’ , ‘Jean Haines’ , ‘Judicial Reform Activist’ , ‘Charles Corry President at Equal Justice Foundation’ , ‘William Scott’ <email@example.com>, ‘Journalist Janet Phelan’ , ‘HR Candidate’ , ‘Juan Carrasco’ , ‘donald watson’ , ‘Tim Lahrman NASGA’ , “‘Dr. Karin Huffer'” , ‘Dan Stuart’ , ‘Political Candidate Bill Scheidler’ , ‘Documentarist Lon Gibby’ , ‘Jon Roland’ , ‘Yania Gonzalez’ , ‘Journalist Editor James Hill’ , ‘Judge Mary Elizabeth Bullock’ , “firstname.lastname@example.org” , ‘Attorney Mark Adams’ , ‘Producer Felix Leo Campos’ , ‘Judicial Reform Activist’ , ‘Professor Francis Daniel Nina’ , ‘Colin Wilson’ , “‘Judicial Exposer Dr. Richard Fine'” , ‘Whistleblower Dr MarshaColeman-Adebayo’ , ‘Talkshow Host Ethel Lopez’ , ‘Talkshow Host Dick Motta’ , ‘Attorney Tatiana Neroni’ , ‘Gary Jacobs’ , ‘Zena Crenshaw Esq’ , ‘Diane Gochin’ , “email@example.com” , ‘Frontline Press Club Founder Vaughan Smith’ , ‘Talkshow Host Elena’ , ‘Editor Jim Kouri’ , ‘Stephen Alexanian’ , “‘Charles R. Livecchi'” , ‘Shelton’s Legal Support Services’ , “‘Dr. Royce Mitchell'” , ‘Jane Bansal’ , ‘Victimsoflaw_Discuss’ , ‘Talkshow Host and Publisher’ , ‘Chris Forsyth’ , ‘Gene’ , ‘Glen Fallin’ , “firstname.lastname@example.org” , “email@example.com” , “‘RHGUSN2 .'” , ‘Earl Reese’ , ‘Christine Porter’ , ‘John Rolls’ , ‘world-wide politics’ , ‘Larry Becraft’ , ‘Bill Richer’ , ‘Sharon Rondeau’ , ‘Don Lashley’ , ‘Len Ritchey’ , “firstname.lastname@example.org” , ‘Nick Philippov’ , ‘Phil Holtz’ , ‘Rich Martin’ , “‘Mark R. Ferran'” , ‘Paul Dunk’ , ‘David Perry’ , “email@example.com” , “firstname.lastname@example.org” , ‘Mspexec Master Account’ , ‘Douglas Kinan’ , “email@example.com” , “firstname.lastname@example.org” , “email@example.com” , “firstname.lastname@example.org” , “‘Carol K.'”
Subject: Re: We Made an Impact on the November 4 Election
The sage of our 90 year old man continues as he is arrested for a second time.
The good news? The story has gone viral and he gets congratulatory calls every 15 min.
At 90 he feeds the homeless and is not forced into a nursing home and drugged. Good for him. In Chicago, unfortunately that would be the solution. The CCP211 would read, “he is delusional and schizophrenic” because he feeds the homeless not in accordance with strict regulations and spends his days outside in the cold at 90 and that must be stopped. As Tom Brennan said, some old people “just stay in the community for far too long.” Yeah, got it. As if they had ebola, they stay in the community and are an embarrassment. Grandma and grandpa used to be put in the attic. Now we have nursing homes.
I hope everyone will take out some time to congratulate him?
Note the response of the city, they have dug in with their Japanese lettuce inspection techniques saying the feeding must be done indoors, that rodents might be a problem outside (rodents? are they kidding. rodents are indigenous species there were here long before humans and will be here long after when we kill ourselves due to pollution from our wars that kill every delicate, man included), no toilets outside (now a plate of food comes with a toilet?), no hand washing stations (please, they’re homeless, if you have not worked with the homeless, that’s the last of anyone’s worries–they need warm clothes, clean clothes, soap and washclothes, toothpaste and tooth brush. I have never heard any of the homeless say, you know, I need a sink with water to wash my hands before and after I eat. Pluheeze).
Ft. Lauderdale just doesn’t want the homeless. But the warm climate attracts them, so there they are. And in Berkley, they have a park for them, they feed them, give them sleeping bags and tents for rain.
Ft. Lauderdale–a city of living heart donors. On a vendetta to run this guy and his charity out the city. I guess they shipped all the beating hearts to Berkley.
And now that the city is on a vendetta putting mean, nasty people in power, there may even be a further drain of humanitarians to other places.
Please send this guy a message or donation for his charity,
Thanks so much for asking how you can help ! We sincerely appreciate that.
Visit our website www.lovethyneighbor.org and you can donate $ to the cause.
And let your voice be heard .. Share and sign this petition- www.change.org/p/jack-seiler-revoke-the-new-city-ordinance-that-bans-public-food-sharing
Call City Hall !! (954) 828-5003 ask for Jack
So says Lea Black Guiterrez.
See the attached letter;
So I asked Ken about his response and he said he’s not sending one, because basically why respond to: 1) utter nonsense, 2) Larkin, who is just trying to crush internal dissent opposing patent and rampant corruption, and 3) Ken is still licensed anyway in numerous jurisdictions. Guess whatever little bird reported this forgot to check out the licenses on the wall in his office which have not been revoked. If they can’t figure out a simple task like that, why attorn to yellow bellied snitches. And for Mr. Larkin’s information, he might think he is getting away with ignoring and even often protecting all of the strings of felonies he turns a blind eye to, but many attorneys are furious with him and soon as Rauner gets in office, they plan on putting together a little visit with him telling him in no uncertain terms must Larkin continue in his role of protecting the likes of those pulling the gold teeth of 99 year old ladies that still want to eat but are forced to have a feeding tube because the for profit nursing homes can’t wait more than 15 minutes between setting down a tray and picking it up and they certainly cannot have staff sit there and patiently cut up food and feed the elderly, now can they? That’s why they invented feeding tube implants. One 2 minute set up and take down and you’re done.
Apparently more than a few attorneys take umbrage with this convenient arrangement to protect the likes of GAL’s and court appointed probate attorneys that pull gold teeth and put in feeding tubes for the convenience of the nursing home and then starve and dehydrate the patient to death. Go figure, Mr. Larkin. Why no investigation. Why sent out heartless, cruel letters on fancy ARDC letterhead bond paper to the family of Alice Gore after they have already been brutalized and dehumanized in probate court. Too much to take the license of those attorneys? Oh, that’s right, I understand your investigation counsel are making sure you are only admitting ethical attorneys by giving them hell over parking tickets! Parking tickets! You’re kidding, right? Pulling gold teeth by corrupt dentists, gets a wink and a nod and a nonsensical letter, right?
And from Ken Ditkowsky today, a reminder that his letter was never answered by Jerome Larkin:
Dozens of friends and family of victims of Elder Cleansing have written to your commission and all have received a letter that said that your agency stating that it was not interested in the obviously criminal conduct of a small group of lawyers being reported.
Each complaint was essentially the same. A senior citizen was railroaded into a guardianship in which his/her liberty and property were confiscated. The looting of the estate was accomplished by the direct violation of the directive of 755 ILCS 11a – 3 (b) in that the elderly and/or disabled victim was separated from his/her prior life and family members who would not attorn to the artificial arrangement and the unjust enrichment of judicial and other officials. (other officials include guardians and attorneys). After the looting was complete the elderly person was subjected to a sometimes drawn out involuntary assisted suicide.
Some of the citizen complaints that were not investigated and not acted upon related attorney conduct that is so despicable and wrong that you dishonor the entire legal profession with your refusal to investigate. The mining of the teeth of senior citizen Alice Gore orchestrated by an Illinois lawyer and ignored by your commission is illustrate of the neglect of duty that you have exhibited.
The attempt to silence attorneys who speak out as to corruption in the Courts is another low point in your tenure and is at the very least the aiding and abetting of the felonies associated with elder cleansing.
I written to you and your commission before and asked for you to join in calling for an HONEST intelligent complete and comprehensive investigation of the cottage industry of elder cleansing and in particular that which occurred in the case of Mary Sykes 09 P 4585. You of course have not joined in or conducted any investigation.
The net was you marshalled your kangaroo panels and I am suspended for four years for the exercise of my First Amendment Rights. You then started proceedings against JoAnne Denison who published on her blog some of my First Amendment utterances. Currently, Ms. Denison in response to what appears to be the misreporting of the perjured words and phrases of a Judge you have continued with your ‘cover up’ by refusing Ms. Denison the audio transmission of the testimony.
You have accused me of making false statements but have never articulated a single statement that you claim was or is false. I challenge you and herewith demand for you to instanter provide me and the community with a list of each statement that you claim was false. Then for every statement you claim was false set forth the basis upon which you claim the statement was false. The foregoing notwithstanding the Friends and family of each of the victims of elder cleansing who have written attorney complaints to your commission want to know why you have refused to investigate the violations of the civil, human, property, and liberty rights of their loved ones who have been railroaded into guardianship by Illinois attorneys.
We would like to know why you are protecting certain attorneys and not others. Attorney Miriam Solo has been accused by the family of Alice Gore of what amounts to a severe and gross human rights violation. Adam Stern, Cynthia Farenga, Peter Schmiedel and other have been accused by Gloria Sykes and the family of Mary Sykes of very very serious violations of Mary Sykes’ fundamental liberty rights. This list is endless and each complaining person wants to know why you are not leading the investigation into the human rights It has not gone un-noticed that there is no ethics statement that can be found for you. The ethics statements being your disclosure of assets and liabilities required by the State.
A person placed in the position of judging the conduct of others should be able and willing to demonstrate at the drop of hat that he is more virtuous than Caesar’s wife.
On Suing Judges For Wrongdoing
Sources of authority that impose a duty of accountability on judges
and that can be invoked when suing a judge for wrongdoing,
but that judges have supplanted with
their self-serving doctrine of judicial immunity and
abusive practices to the same effect;
and an out-of-court strategy to expose judges’ wrongdoing and
bring about judicial reform
Dr. Richard Cordero, Esq.
Ph.D., University of Cambridge, England
M.B.A., University of Michigan Business School
D.E.A., La Sorbonne, Paris
Judicial Discipline Reform
New York City
Table of Contents
* All (parenthetical) blue text references are keyed to Dr. Cordero’s study of the Federal Judiciary titled, Exposing Judges’ Unaccountability and Consequent Riskless Wrongdoing : Pioneering the news and publishing field of judicial unaccountability reporting .
The study and this and related articles and letters are in the file that can be downloaded t hrough any of these links; but see the Note at the end of this article:
41.Judges are under the legal duty of accountability that they assumed when they took the oath of office at 28 U.S.C. §453 (jur:53fn90).
79.Litigation over those notions would also have enabled the parties and the rest of the public to ensure that judges determined controversies fairly and impartially according to law or at least gave the appearance of so doing and otherwise behaved with such integrity and propriety as to raise the reasonable expectation that they would determine controversies thus.
Deference to the judgments and rulings of courts depends on public confidence in the integrity and independence of judges.
We have known each other for years. How can you let the complaint against me of this nobody who dropped out of the blue move forward to tarnish my name and disrupt my peace of mind? Just dismiss it. What, you have never made a mistake or even done something a bit shady? I know you have! I can also find out your darkest dealings by asking my true friends. I thought you too were my friend. But if you turn against me, we will remember how you’re harming me now when it is your turn to be sued by one of those disgruntled losers. You can be sure of that!
If you don’t get rid of this suit against me right now, I promise, every cent you let this plaintiff get from me will cost you a thousand dollars! And be prepared to swim because after I file my depositions and make them part of the publicly accessible record; post them on the Internet to call for similar or additional information; or send copies to the losers in cases before you guys, you all will be flooded with hundreds and hundreds of motions to reopen discovery in light of new evidence or to vacate judgments and hold new trials on a claim that you were unfair and partial due to your conflict of interests, disregard for the rules for disqualification(jur:146fn272), socializing with parties before(146fn271a), your general lack of integrity, you name it.
We all have done it and done it together. Don’t you dare think you can leave me out there to hang dry alone and you just go on doing it and profiting from it. Mind my words: If I go down, I’ll take you all with me!
1) outside the scope of the complaint;
2) unduly burdensome relative to the evidence to be obtained;
3) of no probative value;
4) sought only for its vexing and harassing effect;
5) a fishing expedition(supra, ¶92);
1) are biased due to their animosity toward the sued judge or all judges;
2) have no personal knowledge concerning the facts in controversy to which they are asked to bear testimony;
3) have a conflict of interest that disqualifies their testimony as unreliable;
4) are not credible due to their known penchant for untruthfulness;
5) are not qualified to offer expert testimony in the field of their alleged expertise; etc.;
g avoid the criticism of taking the initiative to rescue the defendant judge while sparing him a new trial by simply granting his motion under Rule 59(e) to alter or amend a judgment that was harsh on him only for the sake of the show and that when altered or amended allows the defendant judge to get off with merely a slap on the wrist…and a wink from his friend on the bench;
If you vote not to review en banc my wrong or wrongful decisions, I’ll return the courtesy to you when your decisions are the subject of an en banc petition. After all, you and I, we all are stuck with each other for the rest of our professional lives. We don’t want grudges among us, do we? Who cares what a onetime en banc petitioner wants or is entitled to. He’ll get over it soon enough.
If all our colleagues of the court below decided not to review the decision of one of their panels, why should we care? If they can live with it, so can we. It is not as if we didn’t have enough cases to deal with.
1) talkshow hosts(ol:146) and
2) student class officers, deans, and professors at schools of journalism, law, business, and Information Technology(ol:137§B) to
What did President Obama and the Supreme Court justices know
about Justice Sotomayor’s wrongdoing
–suspected by The New York Times, The Washington Post, and Politico( jur:65fn107a,c )–
with the complicity of the other justices, judges, and staff of the Federal Judiciary, and
when did they know it?
Dare trigger history! (jur:7§5)…and you may enter it.
Watch the interview with Dr. Cordero by Mr. Alfred Lambremont Webre, JD, MEd, at:
Dr. Richard Cordero, Esq.
Judicial Discipline Reform
New York City
NOTE On Interference with Communications : When emailing Dr. Cordero, send your email to all the email above addresses to enhance the chances of at least one of your emails reaching him.
See in this regard:
http://1drv.ms/1tiLsXe > ol:19§D
Cf. The New York Times, The Washington Post, and Politico( jur:xlviii ) may have entered into a quid pro quo arrangement when they abruptly killed their series of articles suspecting Then-Judge, Now-Supreme Court Justice Sotomayor of concealing assets 107a,c , although it was in their interest to pursue a story that could have earned them the historic credit and a Pulitzer Prize for having set in motion a Watergate-like( jur:4¶¶10-14 ) generalized media investigation that led to the non-confirmation of J. Sotomayor, or the resignation or impeachment of her and of President Obama for connivingly nominating her in his own political and personal interest(ol:67¶6) despite knowing about her concealment of assets( jur:xviii ) so that he lied to the American public when he vouched for her honest and under false pretense obtained its support for her confirmation.
Just when you thought you knew of every evil, thoughtless, degrading law out there that is an insult to civilized society, you find something completely sinister.
Read the below article on “food sharing” criminal laws in Florida
and then you can compare it to stories of the workhouses and poor houses in England:
Headline in the Chicago Tribune Article today
“Are Illinois Courts for Sale?” and check out this article
Articles like these indicate the current push for a constitutional amendment to limit donations from for profit business concerns are heading us in the right direction.
is from the digital edition. go to section 1, page 16
I checked out the property records of several sitting justices trying to figure out why my SLAPP claim was summarily dismissed over my right to publish this blog and found out why. After taking a seat on the SCOI, several justices went from modest $300k bungalows on the south side they had owned for decades to $2 million mansions either in Streetervlle or in Evanston.
This has to stop. Illinois has a bad enough reputation already for corruption. These justices have to give that money back. It looks bad for Illinois. In the current system, after a judge runs and gets a seat he or she can then empty out what is left over in their campaign fund, which creates a pile of case from “permanent friends” of the court.
It’s a really, really bad system.
When Illinois courts are for sale, the citizens of Illinois suffer. Current statistics are that for profit corporatons win over the little guy now in court at a rate of 80%.
I could not figure out when, when I sued Chase over exhorbitant over draft fees of $25 to $35 each, the court would not say that is illegal, breach of contract does not create a windfall to a large corporation, the rule of law for everyone else is that the aggrieved party only gets lost profits. Hence, Chase should have only received pennies for the overdrafts, instead they get a windfall and the consumer gets heavily screwed with no justice. There have been some inroads made, but not for the little guy.
Check out the docket sheet at
The case was transferred to a number of different judges where it ended up at Patrick Sherlock and he kept on deny any and all complaints.
The case was started in Oct 2009 and basically went no where until Mar 2011. I could not figure out why. Now I’m on the 18th floor all the time and I have a blog with tons of attorney “don’t mention my name, but let me tell you****” I know why.
If you’re an Illinois citizen you have to understand what is currently going on in our courts. It’s as systemic as ebola. While the news papers are crying about ebola and a vaccine or whatever, our courts are degrading into something unrecognizable as halls of justice.
Check out the cases on this blog regarding the right to Free Speech. It has been preempted by the the likes of Stern, Farenga, Jerome Larin and his “litigation department”–who cares not for whistleblowers.
Richard Fine, is currently in solitary confinement for his actions in changing the judicial system in California. I will get the people to write, fax, call and demand his release so that our court system again functions as not an arm of big, connected business, but as a place of justice.
It’s time for us to note that Lady Justice is no longer blind. She is being handed wads of cash by big business interests in one hand and making decisions based upon that.
And when the courts are not open, honest, just and democratic, the people will take it to the streets and to the internet where they cannot shut us down.
The 7th circuit called this blog “a vendetta”. Since when is a blog, supported by over 65,000 views, together with NASGA and Probate Sharks and even Activist Post which gets over one million views per article–a vendetta?
Are they going after the lawyers at the Chicago Tribune for publishing that the Illinois Courts are for sale in at least 3 articles? Heck no. They go after elderly Jewish lawyers, mothers of 4 running a social justice charity and an African immigrant instead. They are the ultimate in being bullies for whom the law does not and dare not apply.
Tomorrow will be voting day. Check out the internet and make informed choices regarding the judges that sit on our benches. Make sure they are pro-first amendment, pro-consumer, pro women and children’s rights
On November 4, Don’t Be a Lamb Sacrificed to the Judicial Corruption Slaughter!
Richard I. Fine, Ph.D., Chairman, Campaign for Judicial Integrity stated:
“Judicial corruption is the dirty secret of the November 4, election. Don’t be misled by judicial endorsements, recommendations or voter’s guides that conceal judicial corruption.”
“Did you know that all California justices seeking retention on November4, perpetuated judicial corruption by upholding the decisions of the 90% of the Superior Court judges who received retroactive immunity from criminal prosecution under Section 5 of SBX 2 11 for taking illegal payments from counties appearing before them in cases.
Did you know that based upon their having been Superior Court judges in counties paying illegal payments, all but 12 of the 42 Court of Appeal justices seeking retention on November 4, received retroactive immunity from criminal prosecution under Section 5 of SBX 2 11 for taking illegal payments from counties appearing before them in cases.
Did you know that of the 12 remaining, none disclosed the illegal county payments when either representing clients in, or judging, county cases.”
Please visit: http://www.campaignforjudicialintegrity.org/ to see the justices engaged in judicial corruption.
Fine concluded: “On November 4, vote with full knowledge. Vote “No” to all California Supreme Court and Court of Appeal justices. Voting “No” ends judicial corruption now. Voting “No” is the best thing that you can do for you and your family. Not voting or voting “Yes” perpetuates judicial corruption. Elected officials perpetuated judicial corruption by passing SBX 2 11. Only you can end judicial corruption.”
The Campaign for Judicial Integrity is a national grassroots movement and organization dedicated to the eradication of judicial corruption in all of its forms.
Exercise your Rights; Vote for Justice on November 4.
Many of you know that Roseann Miller has been thru hell and back trying at first to protect her mother, and then her father. She has been repeatedly defamed, has been the subject of bogus injunctions and other wrongful legal actions merely because she wanted to protect her mother and father. While she was being prosecuted to keep her away from the home, the police eventually, after years, invaded and found extreme filth, pet feces all over and removed the father. Who was in charge? The brother and an attorney appointed by the court!
Who was blamed and for years persecuted? Roseanne Miller. Is her father still in danger? You bet. Her mother died, bless her soul.
See her email below.
Check out if you have been SLAPPED at http://www.thefirstamendment.org/antislappresourcecenter.html
which is a great SLAPP website. But I have noted that in probate both SLAPP and the US Constitution are often suspended for the benefit of those in power to walk away with assets with impunity. SCCOI won’t use it to protect whistleblower attorneys either. (ARDC v. Denison).
We have to restore courts with integrity and free speech. That decision and the one from the 7th circuit is an abomination and anathema to a free, open and democratic society. Write the authorities. Tell them you demand rights for whistleblowers and Roseanne Miller and her father Clair.
These things should not happen in America!
And if you are an attorney near Roseanne, please contact her and help her out for low cost or free. Start an attorney blog for her and for those similarly situated in Ohio.
And Roseanne, thank you for speaking out to protect those that have no voice–the elderly and disabled.
From: RosANNa Miller
Sent: Nov 1, 2014 4:45 PM
Subject: Fw: SLAPP LAWSUITS & FREEDOM OF SPEECH
Here is an interesting article on how Medicare is paying for drugs for the dead.
Approximately half the prescriptions were file more than a week after death, costing the taxpayers nearly $200,000!
HHS Inspector General: http://oig.hhs.gov/oei/reports/oei-02-11-00172.pdf
With this kind of fraud and no apparent apologies on the horizon, there certainly have to be hundreds of prescribers and drug dispensing companies involved that haven’t been investigated or prosecuted.
Who is protecting these people? Is that the reason why Mr. Larkin is so adamant that attorneys must not run a blog about troubles in the courtroom, troubles in probate and troubles in nursing homes? I don’t see him going after a single attorney that works for the Suntimes or Trib? Why a blog that sticks up for individuals who have little or no voice? For grandma and grandpa having their assets mined and gold teeth mined, and no investigation? (Gore, Sykes). In Sykes, the probate attorneys and GAL’s actively blocked the nvestigation, and so did the ARDC. I wanted to serve subpoenas on US Bank and get the records on drilling out the safe deposit box,
Gloria sent me a scathing email last night saying in essence, how could you screw up the basic fact that I never hired Ken Ditkowsky as my attorney, my mother hired him!! She was furious at me, but the fury was misdirected. We never said that in a brief. I know very well that Mary talked to Gloria, told her to get Ken Ditkowsky to represent her because he would know what to do.
I told Gloria to chew out the 7th circuit for that inane opinion. I have never seen anything like it from the 7th circuit. Basic facts are wrong, there’s no law, just another request to “hush up” the Sykes case. They called blogs, websites, emails and faxes to the authorities to report strings of highly likely felonies “a vendentta.” Who are these people they do not understand basic first amendment rights and that the blog contains all the evidence needed to support the problems.
The public understands.
Why are subpoenas being blocked?
Why did Judge Stuart prevaricate at my trial and then suddenly retire?
Why did the ARDC and the GAL’s block Gloria’s and my subpeonas that indicated Mary and Gloria’s safe deposit box was drilled and the contents emptied soon after the plenary guardian was appointed and she was never required to inventory the contents? Why can’t either I or Gloria subpoena her about it to ask her about the contents? Why can’t we subpoena her bank account records and find out why and how she paid for a lavish wedding? Why can’t either of us depose Carolyn Toerpe, Fred Toerpe and Kristin Toerpe and ask them about these events and see if the stories match.
Where are the contents of the safe deposit box and why is the 7th circuit been handed erroneous statements of fact which they publish in opinions without case law and statutory law (the Illinois Probate Act was curiously missing).
Everyone in authority in that cottage industry group wants no investigations and thy actively block subpeonas and discovery and the court and the ARDC rubber stamp it. The public and other attorneys write me all the time and want an investigation.
I want to know why, don’t you.
Now the media and asking questions and serving discovery and subpoenas is somehow “a vendetta” but only in the Sykes case.
The 7th circuit hasn’t explained enough about that decision. 3 Justices were involved:
Chicago used to be famous for voting by dead people. Now they need drugs?