Brief on Appeal for JMD–How many ways can we tell the authorities that the 1st Amendment is alive and kicking

Now you all know that when I am quiet for a day or two I am up to something, so here is my Appeal to the Reivew Board at the Atty Regn and Disc. Comm.

This is the scan.  It is replete with First Amendment assertions–those that are generally in pristine condition at the ARDC because they are unused and kept under lock and key!

You can also read it below.

This blog is dedicated to you, my fans and probate victims.  No one knows more than you, and certainly no one at the ARDC knows how you have suffered.  You all file horrendous complaints (Gore, Drabik, Wyman, etc.) and the ARDC/Jerome Larkin dismiss them out of hand and often write nonsensical letters back (Sykes, Gore, etc.)

But rest assured I am here for you.  On Mar 13, 2015 at 9:30 am at 130 W Randolph, One Prudential Plaza on the 8th floor, there will be my oral argument before the Review Board of the ARDC.  Please be there for support.  I want the Review Board to see the victims of the 18th floor and other probate courts around the nation.

Candice Schwager, an attorney in Texas has pledged support.  Barbara Stone an attorney from New York who is on bracelent monitoriing for objecting to her aged mother receiving Miralax–a dangerous synthesized chemical compound to relieve constipation–has pledged support.

We need to band together.  We need to form a cohesive group that the fleecing of the elderly in court will not be tolerated, and then drugging them with chemical restraints, implanting feeding tubes to save time and effort at for profit nursing homes, depriving them of the sense of taste, eating and chewing, is an abomination in the US today, and certainly subject to the International Treaties against torture, in all of its forms.

Our elderly and disableds need to be protected. The truth needs to be told.  We are not doing the job we should to protect vulnerable citizens of the US and worldwide.

The protection of our disableds and elderly are the hallmark of advanced civilization and show compassion, empathy, sympathy, patience and tolerance.  These are all lessons we need to hone.

Let’s pray for them all today and that the Review Board will have the compassion, empathy, sympathy, patience and tolerance that so far has been impenetrable at the IARDC.  At my trial, the ARDC proudly proclaimed that lack of empathy, sympathy, compassion, patience and tolerance for the elderly and disableds is “sour grapes.”  We need to change that attitude.


Now comes Respondent Atty JoAnne Denison and herewith files her Brief to the Reivew Board which respectfully moves the Board to DISMISS all charges against the undersigned counsel. The undersigned counsel has done nothing other than run a blog relating to probate matters and the targeting of the elderly to drain their estates and leave them destitute by operation or color of law. She has not stolen anything, she has not neglected any client matters, in fact no clients at all have complained about her.  The only entities complaining about her are judges and attorneys of questionable character– a character which the public has the right to judge, fairly and openly.
She has been a patent attorney for approximately the last 30 years without any public discipline.  She has served many clients for low cost or free or on a payment plan.  No client complaint to date has resulted in any disciplinary action.  The present disciplinary action does not involve any client complaint.  Rather, the present disciplinary action has left Ms. Denison with unwavering support from other blogs, notably,, NASGA or, Atty Candice Schwager’s popular probate blog ( and other probate blogs.  Ms. Denison says nothing different or better or worse than any of these other blogs.  Her blog is fairly much the same and tells the same tale of targeting a senior, guardianizing them, often without jurisdiction, placing them against their will into a locked down nursing home, liquidating all assets while telling the court it is for the “good of ward, the ward needs the money” but in reality most will go to court appointed attorneys, and to a nursing home not mentioned or wanted in the ward’s advance directives.  Then the ward will be chemically restrained, without due process of law, and when the estate is depleted, the ward will experience problems with nutrition and dehydration and death quickly follows.  It is a plan found nationwide and the undersigned attorney hears of, is emailed or is called regarding at least one two three cases nationwide per week.
Her blog speaks the truth and is quickly approaching 90,000 views since December of 2011.
She is respectfully asking for dismissal on the following grounds: 1)  47 USC § 230 for the internet immunity act which provides immunity to people who post on the internet and it provides a proper remedy for anyone objecting to posts; 2) the First Amendment to the US Const.; 3) Ill. State Const. Article 1, Section 4; 3) 320 ILCS § 20 Elder Abuse Act, immunity for reporting Elder Abuse; 4) 42 USC § 22203 for Retaliatory Acts for reporting discrimination under the Americans with Disabilities Act; 5) the common law defenses to defamation, slander and libel, including, but not limited to: hyperbole, exaggeration, opinion etc., 735 ILCS § 110-1/2 or the Citizens Participation Act; 18 USC § 4 for Misprison of Felony in reporting crimes to the authorities and showing others how to report these crimes to the authorities pro se.
The blog reports nothing but the truth, and publishes hundreds of documents, pleadings and evidence of the truth in Probate.  The ARDC, in prosecuting a blog that does nothing but tell the truth, promote honor, decency, education, truth and justice, does great harm to the public.
The prosecution of a blog by the ARDC is wrong. The premise that the media obstructs justice, disrupts the orderly administration of justice is a pure fabrication, worth of only the most desperate of fascist countries such as Iraq, Iran and N. Korea, and such fascism has no place in the democracy of the United States.  In the US, there is no such legal theory such as “shoot the messenger” or “blame the media.”  The press is free and democratic.  Accordingly, any complaint against a Blogger, must be DIMISSED.
3) The Legal Issues for Review:
a) Can a blog owned and operated by an attorney create clear and convincing evidence for discipline under Rule 8.2 regarding a judge, especially when it was shown at trial that the Judge changed her testimony, the transcript was also altered, and all of this amounted to Fraud on the Court–all of which was ignored in the Nov. 21, 2014 decision rendered by the Tribunal?
B) Can a blog owned and operated by an attorney create clear and convincing evidence for discipline under Rule 8.2(c) when all of the transcripts, evidence, pleadings regarding the allegedly false statements made were on the blog and the public could decide for itself, and post comments and commentary, but no adverse comments and commentary have been made, despite the fact the blog has had about 80,000 views?
b) Can an attorney respondent be found by clear and convincing evidence to have lied or made reckless statements regarding activities in the 09 P 4585 case when in fact, most of the family and friends were barred from testifying at trial because they would have testified contrary to the Judge and court appointed attorneys in violation of Rule 8.4(d)?
c) can an attorney respondent be found by clear and convincing evidence to have lied or made reckless statements regarding activities in 09 P 4585 case when in fact, all of the expert witnesses on blogging in probate, and who knew the Sykes case intimately and the family, and were banned from testifying because the Tribunal did not need those experts?  However, in reality, the Tribunal wanted to ban testimony highly favorable to Respondent.
d) Can an attorney respondent be found by clear and convincing evidence to have violated any of Rules 8.2, 8.2(c) or (d) on the basis of the Tribunal asserting a legal basis of “blame the media” or “shoot the messenger”?
e) Can an attorney respondent be found by clear and convincing evidence to have violated any of Rules 8.2, 8.(c) or (d) regarding an attorney engaging in lies, deception or reckless statements when the Tribunal itself admitted that the Subject Case 09 P 4585 was a hotly “contentious legal proceeding”? (p. 30, Decision)
(the other charges were apparently dismissed)

The facts and Background
As noted above, much of the trial centered around the Sykes 09 P 4585 case wherein Mary G Sykes was railroaded into a guardianship and was not served with a Summons and Complaint or read her rights as required by the Illinois Probate Act
The only entities making claims against her are those that are court appointed attorneys working the probate court system for fees and appointments.  On the witness stand, each of Judge Stuart, Attys Peter Schmeidel, Cynthia Farenga and Adam Stern self declared they were amazing and miraculous advocates of the disabled with no parallels.   Unfortunately, on cross examination it turned out Peter Schmeidel never saw Mary Sykes in 5 years, and Cyntia Farenga and Adam Stern, Mary’s two Guardians ad Litem (GAL’s) saw her for less than an hour total!  Each of the witnesses the ARDC put on, had massive issues with integrity in their handling of the Mary Sykes probate case–all of which was reported on the Subject Blog in great detail.  The Tribunal admits that the Kathy Bakken testimony indicated the case was hotly contested (p. 30, ¶ 2) However, the Tribunal never explains either why it needed to take the side of the ARDC witnesses (Stuart, Farenga and Stern) over the family witnesses (Gloria, Kathleen, Scott) and the Probate Expert witnesses (Ken and Bev Cooper, Sylvia Rudek), all of whom had to be barred from testifying about the Sykes case in order for the ARDC to win their case.
In the case of Mary Sykes, 09 P 4585, Ms. Sykes, a 90 year old widow of a Chicago Police Officer, living in Norwood Park in Chicago, was removed from her home, stripped of her human and civil rights, forced to live in Naperville, Illinois with a daughter she was estranged from, and not at all in her her advance directives, then separate her from about a million dollars in gold and valuable coins–all without first obtaining jurisdiction of the court.  Illinois Probate Act requires 14 days advance notice of the time, date and place of a guardianship hearing–this notice was never received by Mary or her two elderly sisters, Yolanda Bakken and Josephine DiPietro.  In addition, no sheriff’s service could be found on her (Resp Exh. A).
This is how the entire blog started–with one elderly woman who was stripped of her rights in 2009, the younger daughter fighting to get her mother and her property back, and a blog that tells the entire story, day by day with articles and postings by many attorneys, friends and relatives of Mary. The blog–, which is mirrored at tells the entire sordid tale of an elderly woman stripped of her rights, stuck in nursing homes she did not want to ever live in, and railroaded into a guardianship where discovery was denied, the probate court refused to look at the advance directives of Mary Sykes and appoint her younger daughter, Gloria, who held that rights.
From a simple blog over one lone case in November 2011, came an avalanche of dozens and dozens of other cases telling the same story over and over.  A wealthy senior is targeted for guardianship in a number of ways, through a survey at a hospital, senior center or from a nurse, or from lawyer; then a petition is filed, a deal is made who will be the guardian and who will be the guardian’s attorney, who will be the Guardian ad Litem or GAL, and other players are bought in–case managers, social workers, visiting nurses–you name it, they are assigned to the case, generally for hundreds of dollars per hour, when a comparable off the street rate would be $20 to $40 per hour.  The ward or targeted ward has no say in anything.  If she is lucky, she will get an attorney.  In Mary’s case, videos on the internet near the time of her alleged “incompetence” show her with excellent higher cognitive skills–talking about her daughters, her estate and what she wanted. Scott Evans would have testified that in fall of 2009 Mary was still part of a neighborhood card group, and the last time she played, they played canasta (a complex game) and she beat the pants off of everyone!  She wanted to live in her own home until she died and have Gloria, the younger daughter, care for her.  She never said she wanted to live at Carolyn’s home, or a nursing home, or have her home sold, but that is exactly what happened in 09 P 4585.
Then the senior is generally place against her will into a locked down nursing home (Wyman, Drabik, Tyler, Frake, etc.) and is chemically restrained with psychotropic drugs which are not FDA approved and which are dispensed without knowledge or consent of the patient in contravention to Illinois Law.
And the true crux of all of these cases–and what the Tribunal sorely wanted to cover up during the trial, was the fact that Mary’s home was appraised at $700,000 in one month and then a few months later sold for $238,000.  In addition, what was left over after the sale and mortgage payoff pretty much went to attorneys fees, with GAL’s admitting to taking about $50k or $60k from the trust for attorney’s fees.  Further, fact witness Scott Evans was banned because he was to testify that it would all go to attorneys fees, and that is pretty much what has come to fruition.  Peter Schmeidel and Fischel and Kahn has put in a fee claim out of the estate for well over $100,000!
The undersigned counsel presently devotes 90% of her time to providing legal services to probate and court room victims of corruption for low cost or free or a reasonable payment plan.  No other attorney in Illinois does that. She now devotes all of her time and energy to cleaning up the messes these other “probate attorneys” leave behind in their quests to target seniors, drain estates, place seniors in nursing homes where they do not want to be, ignore any advance directives, and sell off paid up homes and cars and drain bank accounts ostensibly for “the good of the ward” when in reality, it is for the good of many court connected pocketbooks.

A) Improper rulings by the Tribunal over evidence and witnesses demand a new trial or reversal.

Respondent appeals the barring of Scott Evans and Gloria Sykes.  Gloria Sykes was barred because she did not turn over 12,000+ emails over 5 years in discovery. She claimed attorney client and Illinois Reporter’s privilege because she is a professional award winning reporter and journalist, and when not caring for her mother full time, that was her chosen profession and still is.  She is in the process of contacting media, providing interviews on Elder abuse and legislation, and she is working on her own book and docudrama regarding her mother.  She is a professional producer of documentaries and docudramas.  Had the undersigned attorney turned over the emails without the permission of Ms. Sykes, she could have been found liable for a breach of the Illinois Reporter’s Privilege law.  The undersigned attorney has absolutely no assets and no insurance to take on that type of liability for a breach of Ms. Sykes’ rights in and to her own Reporter’s intellectual property.  The ARDC never offered Ms. Denison any immunity for breaching that law.  Gloria’s profits could have easily reached millions of dollars in books sales and video sales.  It is a chance not worth taking.  But more important, it encourages an attorney to break the law so the ARDC can go on a discovery fishing expedition.
If the charges are not completely dismissed, then Respondent is requesting a new trial because Scott Evans was not allowed to testify and he was present at many, many court proceedings and would have stated the blog stated the truth.
Gloria Sykes is the younger daughter and she would have testified that the blog stated the truth about her mother’s 09 P 4585 case and she held the last valid Power of Attorney for Health care, and that POA was ignored by Judge Conners in the probate court.  She would have further testified, than in contradiction to what Judge Stuart testified, that Gloria was not chained in her ante room to divulge Gloria’s assets, that Judge Stuart did in fact have her chained by her deputies and did in fact have her deputies threaten her pets with euthanization.
Gloria Sykes should have been allowed to testify.
Ms. Denison’s experts should have been allowed to testify.  Mr. Ken Cooper runs a popular blog entitled  He was barred from testifying as an expert on probate blogs, despite the fact his blog is extremely popular and has more than 70,000 views per year.  He would have testified he was familiar with the case, with the family’s claims regarding the probate case and that Ms. Denison’s blogs fairly reported upon those claims.
Ms. Sylvia Rudek was barred from testifying despite the fact that she is an expert in the probate court victim arena and the NASGA blog has more than 150,000 views per year.  NASGA runs a “most wanted” list which is not a laudatory position, and each of the ARDC witnesses testified that they were attorneys of good standing and well respected in the courtroom. The NASGA “most wanted” list tells the truth and a much darker side to what these attorneys and the judges involved in the Probate Court have done to Mary Sykes and other probate victims.  Each of Judge Stuart, Judge Connors, Peter Schmeidel, have been featured on the NASGA “most wanted” list–as a dire warning to the public to stay away.
(5) Legal Argument
a) The First Amendment and Free Speech
The First Amendment is a core American value that the US Supreme Court has determined not to be subject to being impeded or otherwise censored except under extremely limited circumstances.  The Supreme Court has decreed the Rule of Law and has been unequivocal in stating that a citizen’s right to unimpeded free speech is superior to the whim of persons temporarily in power.
The First Amendment abrogates, except in extreme circumstances not present herein, the government’s power to dictate and control the speech of an US citizen.  The Court’s free speech declarations have been embodied in the following cases:
United States v. Alvarez, 132 S. Ct. 2537, 183 L. Ed. 2d 574 (2012), Brown v. Entm’t Merchants Ass’n, 131 S. Ct. 2729, 180 L. Ed. 2d 708 (2011), Ashcroft v. Am. Civil Liberties Union, 542 U.S. 656, 124 S. Ct. 2783, 159 L. Ed. 2d 690 (2004), Snyder v. Phelps, 131 S. Ct. 1207, 179 L. Ed. 2d 172 (2011), Citizens United v.
Fed. Election Comm’n, 558 U.S. 310, 130 S. Ct. 876, 175 L. Ed. 2d 753 (2010). 7 McCutcheon v. F.E.C., 12-536, 2014 WL 1301866 (U.S. Apr. 2, 2014)
In Peel v. Attorney Registration & Disciplinary Comm’n of Illinois, 496 U.S. 91, 97, 110 S. Ct. 2281, 2286, 110 L. Ed. 2d 83 (1990), In re Sawyer, 360 U.S.
622, 640, 79 S. Ct. 1376, 1385, 3 L. Ed. 2d 1473 (1959).Bates v. State Bar of Arizona, 433 U.S. 350, 97 S. Ct. 2691, 53 L. Ed. 2d 810 (1977), In re Primus,
436 U.S. 412, 98 S. Ct. 1893, 56 L. Ed. 2d 417 (U.S.S.C. 1978). Gentile v. State Bar of Nevada, 501 U.S. 1030, 111 S. Ct. 2720, 115 L. Ed. 2d 888 (1991) make it clear that no dichotomy is drawn between attorney and other citizens.
In this case, each of Schmeidel, Farenga and Stern have a remedy.  If they felt the blog was so reckless and untrue, they might have filed an action in defamation, false light or libel.  As of the writing of this brief, they have undertaken no such action.  They themselves have voluntarily acted in a “hotly contested” case, placing them in the public spotlight.  As a public figure, they have nearly no recourse for statements they do not like.  Likewise, Ms. Denison cannot sue any of them for any comments each of them have made about her, on the blog or not on the blog; at the Tribunal or not at the Tribunal proceedings.  Because she has chosen to run, own and maintain a blog about probate, those that differ with her opinions will have the unfettered right to make them, and  litigation is not the remedy to put a gag on these individuals.
One very important point that the Tribunal entirely missed was whether or not the 09 P 4585 court ever attained jurisdiction over Mary Sykes.  Mary Sykes lived in Norwood Park in Chicago.  She was well known in the neighborhood and a friend of Ms. Denison’s for many years.  The Illinois Probate act requires:
The court attains jurisdiction over the allegedly disabled person by personal service upon him of a copy of the petition and summons not less than 14 days before the hearing. (Ill.Rev.Stat.1989, ch. 110½, ¶  11a–10(e); see, McCormick v. Blaine (1931), 345 Ill. 461, 178 N.E. 195.) It is also a jurisdictional requirement that the petitioner give notice of the time and place of the hearing by mail or in person to the nearest living relatives of the allegedly disabled person not less than 14 days before the hearing.
Ill.Rev.Stat.1989, ch. 110½, par. 11a–10(f); see, In re Guardianship of
Sodini (1988), 172 Ill.App.3d 1055, 123 Ill.Dec. 67, 527 N.E.2d 530.” In re Estate of Steinfeld, 158 Ill. 2d 1, 630 N.E.2d 801, 807 (1994).

A letter from Sheriff Dart’s offices as Respondent’s Exhibit A was completely ignored by the Tribunal.  There was no jurisdiction over Mary and there is yet no jurisdiction over Mary.  In addition, the Tribunal ignored the following:
To protect the elderly and the disabled, Illinois
law states:
“(b) Guardianship shall be utilized only as is necessary to promote the well-being of the disabled person, to protect him from neglect, exploitation, or abuse, and to encourage development of his maximum self-reliance and independence. Guardianship shall be ordered only to the extent necessitated by the individual’s actual mental, physical and adaptive limitations.” 755 ILCS 5/11a-311

The Tribunal never inquired into the fact, and witnesses were banned that would have testified (Scott Evans, Gloria Sykes, Kathy Bakken, etc.) that Mary was isolated from 20+ former friends and family and she was secreted away to a remote location (Naperville) which was unfamiliar to her and not in her advance directives.  The Tribunal ignored all of this when it tried to convince Ms. Denison’s witnesses that the Sykes probate matter was nothing more than “sour grapes.”  However, Ms. Denison and other probate experts and attorneys assert that there were serious violations of the law, amounting to corruption of law.
By limiting an individual’s right to make decisions, guardianship not only divests the individual of the important right to self-determination but also marginalizes that person and removes him or her from a host of interactions involved in decision making. In this way, guardianship segregates a person from many critical aspects of social, economic, and civic life. See, Leslie Salzman, Rethinking Guardianship (Again): Substituted Decision Making As A Violation of the Integration Mandate of Title II of the Americans with Disabilities Act, 81 U. Colo. L. Rev. 157, 160 (2010).
Illinois’ stated policy is to protect its citizens from over-reaching by government is recited in 755 ILCS 110/5. Immunity to people such as the Respondent is granted in 320 ILCS 20/4. County of     DeWitt v Am Fed’n of State Cnty, Mun Employees Council 31 298 Ill App3d 634, 637–38, 699 NE 2d 163, 166 (1998) makes it clear that Courts are required to comport with the Policy of the State as enacted by the legislature.
Respondent, as a citizen, is entitled to Equal Protection of the law in its fullest degree. It was and is ultra vires for government to discriminate against the Respondent in undertaking a blog to promote truth and justice in Probate amidst a plethora of claims such integrity is sorely lacking. In particular, it is a denial of equal protection for government (IARDC) to enhance punishment for not participating in ‘obstruction of
justice,’ or other 18 USCA 371 behavior. It is ultra vires for government to enhance punishment for not being repentant for compliance with Federal and
State law.
“a basic First Amendment principle that freedom of speech prohibits the
government from telling people what they must say.” Rumsfeld v. Forum for Academic and Institutional Rights, Inc., 547 U.S. 47, 61, 126 S.Ct. 1297, 164 L.Ed.2d 156 (2006) (citing West Virginia State Bd. of Ed. v.  Barnette, 319 U.S. 624, 642, 63 S.Ct. 1178, 87 L.Ed. 1628 (1943), and Wooley v. Maynard, 430 U.S. 705, 717, 97 S.Ct. 1428, 51 L.Ed.2d 752 (1977)).

“At the heart of the First Amendment lies the principle that each person should decide for himself or herself the ideas and beliefs deserving of expression, consideration, and adherence.” Turner Broadcasting System, Inc. v. FCC, 512 U.S. 622, 641, 114 S.Ct. 2445, 129 L.Ed.2d 497 (1994); see Knox v. Service Employees, 567 U.S. __, 132 S.Ct. 2277, 2288, 183 L.Ed.2d 281 (2012) (“The government may not . . . compel the endorsement of ideas that it approves.”).

Were it enacted as a direct regulation of speech, the Policy requirement would plainly violate the First Amendment. The question is whether the Government may nonetheless impose that requirement as a condition on the receipt of federal funds.” Agency for Int’l Dev. v. Alliance for Open Soc’y Int’l, Inc., 133 S. Ct. 2321, 2327, 186 L. Ed. 2d 398 (2013).
On April 2, 2014 the Supreme Court of the United States reiterated the core principle of the First Amendment and pointed out that “when the Government restricts speech, the Government bears the burden of proving the constitutionality of its actions.” United States v. Playboy Entertainment Group, Inc., 529 U.S., at 816.” McCutcheon v. F.E.C., 12-536, 2014 WL 1301866 (U.S. Apr. 2, 2014).
The Tribunal in its decision  does not explain how their position is the least and best restrictive means to protect Free Speech. An arbitrary pronouncement that the First Amendment is not applicable to Respondent’s speech begs the question and the policy of Illinois stated in 18 USCA 4, 320 ILCS 20/4, 735 ILCS 110/5 and/or the First Amendment. The First Amendment “is designed and intended to remove governmental restraints from the arena of public discussion, putting the decision as to what views shall be voiced largely into the hands of each of us, . . . in the belief that no other approach would comport with the premise of individual dignity and choice upon which our political system rests.” Cohen v. California, 403 U.S. 15, 24, 91 S.Ct. 1780, 29 L.Ed.2d 284 (1971). As relevant here, the First Amendment safeguards an individual’s right to participate in the public debate through political expression and political association. see Buckley, 424 U.S., at 15. McCutcheon v. F.E.C., 12-536, 2014 WL 1301866 (U.S. Apr. 2, 2014).
In United States vs. Alvarez (infra) the Supreme Court of the United States stated:
“[A]s a general matter, the First Amendment means that government has no
power to restrict expression because of its message, its ideas, its subject matter, or its content.” Ashcroft v. American Civil Liberties Union, 535 U.S. 564, 573, 122
S.Ct. 1700, 152 L.Ed.2d 771 (2002) (internal quotation marks omitted). As a result,
*2544 the Constitution “demands that content-based restrictions on speech be
presumed invalid . . . and that the Government bear the burden of showing
their constitutionality.” Ashcroft v. American Civil Liberties Union, 542 U.S.
656, 660, 124 S.Ct. 2783, 159 L.Ed.2d 690 (2004)”. United States v. Alvarez, 132 S. Ct. 2537, 2543-44, 183 L. Ed. 2d 574 (2012) Unpopular and universally condemned
expressions of speech are no exception to the principle “***** government has no power to restrict expression because of its message, its ideas, its subject matter, or its content.” Ashcroft v. American Civil Liberties Union, 535 U.S. 564, 573, 122 S.Ct. 1700, 152 L.Ed.2d 771 (2002) Brown v. Entm’t Merchants Ass’n,
131 S. Ct. 2729, 2733, 180 L. Ed. 2d 708 (2011). Thus selling violent video games to children was protected by the First Amendment. Indeed speech depicting cruelty to animals was ruled protected, to wit:
“speech does not extend only to categories of speech that survive an ad hoc balancing of relative social costs and benefits. The First Amendment itself reflects a judgment by the American people that the benefits of its restrictions on the Government outweigh the costs. Our Constitution forecloses any attempt to revise that judgment simply on the basis that some speech is not worth it.” Id.

The Constitution is not a document “prescribing limits, and declaring that those limits may be passed at pleasure.” Marbury v. Madison, 1 Cranch 137, 178, 2 L.Ed. 60 (1803)”. United States v. Stevens, 559 U.S. 460, 470, 130 S. Ct. 1577, 1585, 176 L. Ed. 2d 435 (2010).
Indeed, specifically directed prohibitions on First Amendment Rights such as are being applied to the instant Respondent in these proceedings are totally in
contravention of the core values of America and the Supreme Court mandate of Snyder vs Phelps, 131 S.Ct. 1207, 179 L.Ed.2d 17279.   As judges in Illinois are elected, it is respectfully submitted that they are afforded no protection outside the scope of the trial environment required to foster a fair trial. Attempts to shelter a judicial official from disclosure of allegations of misconduct, is overbroad.
In the First Amendment context, however, this Court recognizes “a second type of facial challenge,” whereby a law may be invalidated as overbroad if “a substantial number of its applications are unconstitutional, judged in relation to the
statute’s plainly legitimate sweep.” Washington State Grange v. Washington
State Republican Party, 552 U.S. 442, 449, n. 6, 128 S.Ct. 1184, 170 L.Ed.2d 151
(2008)” United States v. Stevens, 559 U.S. 460, 473, 130 S. Ct. 1577, 1587, 176 L. Ed. 2d 435 (2010).
It should be noted that: “Courts, too, are bound by the First Amendment.” Citizens United v. Fed. Election Comm’n, 558 U.S. 310, 326, 130 S. Ct. 876, 891, 175 L. Ed. 2d 753 (2010)1    In Citizens United the Supreme Court stated:
“The ongoing chill upon speech that is beyond all doubt protected makes it necessary in this case to invoke the earlier precedents that a Statute which chills speech can and must be invalidated where its facial invalidity has been demonstrated.
“Speech is an essential mechanism of democracy, for it is the means to hold
officials accountable to the people.” See, Buckley, supra, at 14–15, 96 S.Ct. 612 (“In a republic where the people are sovereign, the ability of the citizenry to make informed choices among candidates for office is essential”). The right of citizens to inquire, to hear, to speak, and to use information to reach consensus is a precondition to enlightened self-government and a necessary means to protect it. The First Amendment “‘has its fullest and most urgent application’ to speech uttered during a campaign for political office.” *340 Eu v. San Francisco County Democratic Central Comm., 489 U.S. 214, 223, 109 S.Ct. 1013, 103 L.Ed.2d 271 (1989) (quoting, Monitor Patriot Co. v. Roy, 401 U.S. 265, 272, 91 S.Ct. 621, 28 L.Ed.2d 35 (1971)); see Buckley, supra, at 14, 96 S.Ct. 612.
(“Discussion of public issues and debate on the qualifications of candidates are integral to the operation of the system of government established by our Constitution”).
“Political speech is indispensable to decision making in a democracy, and this is
no less true because the speech comes from a corporation rather than an individual.” Bellotti, 435 U.S., at 777, 98 S.Ct. 1407, (footnote omitted); see ibid. (the worth of speech “does not depend upon the identity of its source, whether corporation, association, union, or individual”); Buckley, 424 U.S., at 48–49, 96 S.Ct. 612 (“[T]he concept that government may restrict the speech of some elements of our society in order to enhance *350 the relative voice of others is wholly foreign to the First Amendment”); Automobile Workers, 352 U.S., at 597, 77 S.Ct. 529 (Douglas, J., dissenting); CIO, 335 U.S., at 154–155, 68 S.Ct. 1349 (Rutledge, J., concurring in result).” Citizens United v. Fed. Election Comm’n, 558 U.S. 310, 349-50, 130 S. Ct. 876, 904, 175 L. Ed. 2d 753 (2010).
“The First Amendment does not permit the State to sacrifice speech for efficiency.” Riley v. National Federation of Blind of N. C., Inc., 487 U.S. 781, 795, 108 S.Ct. 2667, 101 L.Ed.2d 669 (1988). Arizona Free Enter. Club’s Freedom Club PAC v. Bennett, 131 S. Ct. 2806, 2824, 180 L. Ed. 2d 664 (2011).
It is axiomatic that herein society has a vested interest in Government restraint and government providing a level playing field.
“The Government has a strong interest, no less critical to our democratic system, in combating corruption and its appearance. We have, however, held that this interest must be limited to a specific kind of corruption—quid pro quo corruption—in order to ensure that the Government’s efforts do not have the effect of restricting the First Amendment right of citizens to choose who shall govern them.” McCutcheon v. F.E.C., 12-536, 2014 WL 1301866 (U.S. Apr. 2, 2014).

The US Supreme Court has been very clear and forceful in its protection of the First Amendment while the Tribunal appears to ignore this Court’s words, to wit:
It hardly needs elaboration to make it clear that the question of the total insufficiency of the evidence to sustain a serious charge of professional misconduct, against a backdrop of the claimed constitutional rights of an attorney to speak as freely as another citizen, is not one which can be subsumed under the headings of local practice, customs or law. In re Sawyer, 360 U.S. 622, 640, 79 S. Ct. 1376, 1385, 3 L. Ed. 2d 1473 (1959)
It is therefore respectfully suggested that Illinois, its courts, its commissions, and the IARDC lack the power and the jurisdiction to directly or indirectly over-rule the Supreme Court of the United States or make compliance with State and Federal Statutes regarding reporting Elder Abuse, misprison of felony, conspiracy, etc., a disciplinary offense. The decision of Tribunal to suspend Ms. Denison for three years in light of the Free Speech mandates of the US Supreme Court cannot stand.  See,  Loving v. I.R.S., 917 F. Supp. 2d 67, 80 (D.D.C. 2013) aff’d, 742 F.3d 1013 (D.C. Cir. 2014).  That various individuals sent her items to post showing the public how to submit complaints and grievances to the authorities and encouraging them to do so to stop the lawlessness they were experiencing in court, should in fact be a Constitutionally protected activity for a blog.  Instead, showing actual examples of grievances and complaints to the proper authorities turned into discipline for Ms. Denison.
The Supreme Court of Illinois in a recent attorney disciplinary case ruled that:
“Before professional discipline may be imposed under Supreme Court Rule 770, the Administrator must demonstrate that the attorney violated the Rules of Professional Conduct. To the extent that any of our prior cases suggest that an attorney may be subjected to professional discipline for conduct that is not prohibited by the Rules of Professional Conduct or defined as misconduct therein, we hereby reject such a suggestion. As a matter of due process, an attorney who is charged with misconduct and faces potential discipline must be given adequate notice of the charges, including the rule or rules he is accused of violating. Personal misconduct that falls outside the scope of the Rules of Professional Conduct may be the basis for civil liability or other adverse consequences, but will not result in professional discipline.” In re Karavidas, 2013 IL 115767.

Karavidas was accused of a breach of fiduciary relationship. Respondent herein, in her capacity of a private citizen owning and operating a free speech blog on current probate legal topics was accused of relating to law enforcement and other citizens certain words and phrases that a judge and some count appointed attorneys found to be objectionable based upon information received from the public and from court records.  The family and friends of these probate victims agreed with the assessment and in fact wrote many of their own posts and comments along the same lines.  It is curious how the ARDC intends to monitor and control language on blogs, and in particular prevent attorneys from agreeing with public information and comments.  For an attorney to say “no comment” or worse yet, have to take the side of deviant attorneys and judges, would greatly harm the public.
It follows therefore, from the Illinois Supreme Court’s decision In re Karavidas, 2013 IL 115767, that a lawyer/citizen who complies with the law, may in fact be violating Rule 8.2 and promoting a code of silence which is like a hot petri dish placed under a lamp for corruption to grow and flourish. It is unfortunate that Illinois ignored, and is continuing to ignore, recent and relevant Supreme Court cases in Alvarez, Brown, Ashcroft, Snyder, Citizens United, Peel, McCutcheon, etc.
More recently, The Virginia Supreme Court is reported to have rejected in a Commercial disclaimer case the ‘will of the wisp’ arbitrariness of the State Attorney
Regulators. See Hunter v. Virginia State Bar ex rel. Third Dist. Comm., 285 Va. 485, 744 S.E.2d 611 (2013) cert. denied, 133 S. Ct. 2871, 186 L. Ed. 2d 913 (U.S. 2013). 2013 WL 2279706.  In the Hunter case, a lawyer blogged about winning criminal cases, and some clients took exception to the blog posts on the basis the information, while true, was embarrassing to them.  Fortunately, the Hunter court decided that the posts were true, that court proceedings were public and accordingly, attorney Hunter had not violated any professional rules of conduct, and the First Amendment protected his speech and right to do so.  In the Hunter case, the court noted the blog was commercial in nature, but afford it broad free speech protections.  In the present case, the ARDC has already admitted the Mary Sykes blog in question is non-commercial, and accordingly it should be granted near complete protection from any interference or disciplinary action.
The record of proceedings in this “disciplinary proceeding” is replete with irregularities that are very troubling. The irregularity rises to the seriousness of over-riding the First Amendment protections decreed by this court. Unfortunately, this and the other ‘irregularities’ must be addressed as they are denials of Constitutional rights to wit:
1. Requirement by the IARDC that Illinois lawyers violate 18 USCA 4 and ignore 18 USCA 371.
2.  Requirement that Rule 8.2 may be unconstitutional as it promotes a “code of silence”, prevents lawyers from coming forward with evidence of court corruption involving serious deviation from the laws because said lawyers may be targeted by the ARDC for being the messenger.  Certainly in the Alice Gore case, where a 99 year old woman was isolated from 20+ family members for 10 months and then her 29 gold teeth were pulled and a feeding tube inserted for the convenience of a for profit nursing home, the ARDC sent the family several nonsensical letters denying any wrongdoing on the part of the court appointed lawyers who put her there or the judge, for that matter.  In the Sykes grievance letter filed by Gloria Sykes, she received a response that Adam Stern was now her GAL!  It took two weeks for Atty Black-Guitterez to proclaim she made an inadvertent mistake.  Serious complaints regarding probate matters are dismissed by ARDC attorneys with outright denials, or nonsensical letters.  These have been published on the blog as examples of ARDC work, cover ups and protection of favored attorneys.  The public has a right to know.
3.  Never noting in the Decision that Judge Stuart changed her testimony about chaining the younger daughter, Gloria while on the witness stand and threatening Gloria’s beloved pets with euthanasia.  The Respondent moved during trial for the audio and was denied.  The Respondent filed a separate later motion and was denied.  By not discussing this additional Fraud on the Court in its Decision, it would appear that the Tribunal itself is part of routine Probate Court legal corruption cover ups.
4. Refusal to provide meaningful discovery.  When the ARDC said it would take the depositions of the family member at end of April 2013, it abruptly canceled and the undersigned had to take them at her offices.  Amazingly enough, the ARDC attorneys then engaged in numerous tactics to bar Gloria Sykes’ working dog Shaggy, whom she depends upon to prevent serious and severe panic attacks while in court room situations.  She suffers from PTSD or Litigation Abuse Syndrom and must have her dog with her who warns her of impending panic attacks from stressful courtroom situations.  Her dog is covered under the ADA.  When the Respondent then went to file the family depositions with the ARDC clerk of court, they moved to strike them because they supported completely the truth of information published on Respondent’s blog.  In addition, when Gloria Sykes finally obtained some meager information on the whereabouts of the missing $1 million in valuable coins, the ARDC tried to even quash the discovery return on that, blaming the subpoena on Ms. Denison without any proof.  It turned out Gloria Sykes served the subpoena and brought the signature cards and activity sheets to the trial on the day she was to testify.  The ARDC went bezerk and tried to ban it.  The signature cards showed clearly that once appointed Guardian for Mary Sykes, the older daughter Carolyn, used her powers to drill out a safe deposit box owned by Gloria and Mary Sykes jointly.  Judge Stuart was not informed of this.  The box was never inventoried.  Judge Stuart explained on the stand that a court order was required before a Guardian could drill out a jointly owned safe deposit box.  That never happened.  What really happened is Adam Stern received a $60,000 tax lien in 2012, and the Guardian started sporting expensive clothing and jewelry and additions to her home–all of which was ignored by the two GALs.
In addition, the Tribunal refused to view one of the videos on the internet, taken in late 2009 with Mary Sykes engaged in a 10 minute diatribe video where she clearly makes it know what her advance directives are (she wants both daughters to care for her as she ages), where she wants to live (her own home), how her assets are to be divided (equally, between Carolyn and Gloria, with neither to get one dime more than the other), and she goes into great, thoughtful detail over her end of life decisions and what should happen.  The Tribunal did not want to view the same video that Judge Garber wanted to see, and after which he declared that Mary was completely competent, that he worked in probate for years, and she should have never been guardianized.
If there were ever a case for getting a one sided decision, and then reading the rest of the issues in the case and sensing a cover up, 13 PR 1 has to be a classic case.
5.    All citizen complaints filed against the judicial officials were ignored by the IARDC (as happened in Wyman, Bedin, Drabik, Tyler and others). Ms. Denison’s private communications to law enforcement and other citizens were liberally
tortured, misrepresented and misinterpreted. Ms. Denison had no standing in the Sykes case except as an outraged private citizen and former family friend of Mary Sykes who could suddenly no longer see her.  Interpretations that were clearly not in accord with objective reality were stated as if they had been based upon foundation and evidence, but evidence had never been presented.
6.  In June 2013, Ms. Denison, Gloria Sykes and Scott and Delores Evans were able to locate Mary Sykes in a nursing home and visit with her.  After some time, the Guardian arrived and grabbed Mary Sykes forcibly, pushing her down a hallway and declaring to Mary Sykes she could NEVER see her beloved Gloria again. The abuse was reported to the authorities and nothing ever came of it.  The nursing home staff denied seeing what Ms. Denison, and the other visitors clearly saw–Carolyn grabbing Mary so forcibly she winced and cried out, and then Carolyn shoved her down the hall making nasty comments designed only to grievously upset both Mary and Gloria.  Then the police arrived and questioned everyone, Ms. Denison asked repeatedly if she could leave, and finally the officer said yes, but then it turned out he talked on the phone to Adam Stern and down and out to the parking lot and after Ms. Denison, the police officer asked for 30 minutes of video be destroyed–though he had no right to even ask that.    Again, more actions were taken in a cover up. The staff saw Ms. Denison’s video and they said nothing.  Ms. Denison asked Mary if she could video and she agreed.  Mary Sykes made numerous statements clearly indicating thinking on a high cognitive level.  That had to be destroyed, legal or not.  This event was never addressed by the Tribunal.
6) Conclusion
Professor Margaret Tarkington in her law review article The Truth be Damned: The first Amendment, Attorney Speech and Judicial Repudiation, 97 GEO. L J. 1567, A Free Speech Right to Impugn Judicial Integrity in Court Proceedings, 2009 Boston College Law Review 363 points out how ironic it is that the keepers of the conscience of the legal profession are so hypocritical that they carve out a right for themselves to deny the legal practitioners their First Amendment Rights.
The façade created by such decisions as In re Karavidas, 2013 IL 115767 leads to the illusion of scholarship and contemplation. In cases such as the instant case the affirmation of the IARDC’s overbroad interpretation of Canons of Ethics creates
a ‘trap for all comers’.
The IARDC’s regulation is nothing more than a ‘naked’ usurpation of the Rights and Liberties that the US Supreme Court has labored to preserve over 230 years. The decision of the Tribunal makes a mockery of the Equal Protection Clause of the United States Constitution.
How can any legitimate tribunal rule that compliance with the Congressional mandate:
“Whoever, having knowledge of the actual commission of a felony cognizable by a court of the United States, conceals and does not as soon as possible make known the same to some judge or other person in civil or military authority under the United States, shall be fined under this title or imprisoned not more than three years, or both.” 18 U.S.C.A. § 4 (West)
How, in light of this statute, is it so ethically challenged as to merit a three year suspension for blogging about Probate and showing how to draft a proper grievance or complaint to the authorities?
Indeed, the affirmation of the IARDC’s actions creates a clear and present danger to the public and American democracy as it teaches that severe punishment is to be expected if a citizen complies with a Federal Criminal Statute of which an
unelected group of lawyers does not approve. The abdication of responsibility by the Tribunal is very troubling. Ms. Denison was not a lawyer in the Sykes case. In re Estate of Sykes, 2011 IL App (1st) 110001-U. Judge Connors denied her permission to appear. Thus, she had ‘no skin in the game’ except as a citizen activist
complaining of the denial to Mary Sykes of her liberty, the separation of Mary Sykes from her family and activities, and the liberation of Mary’s substantial assets without any inventory of those assets being filed in the Probate Court 09 P 4585l, or the Guardian ever being deposed or questioned regarding these assets. The misrepresentation of said fact by the IARDC is intolerable and wrong.
Respondent respectfully urges this Honorable Board to review the
decision of the Tribunal, to reaffirm the rights of the lawyers of the United States of America as to their inalienable rights, and the rights of all citizens to read full, complete and honest lawyer blogs, and allow said attorneys to speak out freely against corruption in the Courts, communicate amongst themselves and with the public, and discuss freely without interference current issues involving elected officials such as judges, including but not limited to those sitting in the Cook County Probate Court.  Respondent also respectfully request this Board subpoena the remaining necessary records in the Sykes case to find out where the missing coins went by requesting the digital security video for the safe deposit area of Pullman Bank to find Mary the remainder of her assets.


JoAnne M. Denison
Nejla Lane

Prepared By:
JoAnne M. Denison, Atty. No.  14,867
Denison & Associates, PC
5940 W Touhy Ave, #120
phone:  312-553-1300
fax:  312-553-1307


The undersigned attorney – Respondent herewith certifies that on Friday, January 16, 2015, she served an original and one copy upon the clerk of the Commission, and 3 copies upon the other party to review pursuant to Rule 302 (b) via USPS first class mail, postage prepaid

Atty Steven Splitt – 3 copies

Attn: ARDC, One Prudential Plaza, 130 E. Randolph St, 125th Floor

Chicago, IL 60601

via personal delivery

and an original and one copy upon the clerk of the IARDC, 8th floor.


JoAnne Marie Denison


1 thought on “Brief on Appeal for JMD–How many ways can we tell the authorities that the 1st Amendment is alive and kicking

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