See below. While the Petition for Interrim suspension was most likely written by SO, a champion against the rights of the public to a fair and just court system, and againt the First Amendment in all forms, the claims are that this blog “threatens irreparable harm to the public, my clients (I have no client complaints, please), and to the orderly administration of justice.”
No where in the 9 pages that were filed, is there any allegation made of a client willing to testify against me (many were contacted, and all politely declined, well, some not so politely, they told me), and how does a blog affect the orderly administration of justice.
Judges aren’t even supposed to read blogs.
The main claim to “orderly administration of justice” is that the Sykes case was “overly litigious” by Gloria due to this blog. How is that? It is never clearly explained.
The blog, as you well know, merely recites facts and laws so that people can judge for themselves and know their rights.
I think, the ARDC does not want the general public to know their rights, esp. in probate where the rule is to ignore the law (Sykes, Bedine, Wyman, Gore, Drabik, etc.) and grab all you can (Sykes, Bedin, Drabik, etc.)
See below and please explain to me if you can, how this blog “irreparably harms” you, the public, and how I irreparably harm my clients via blogging, and how a blog affects orderly administration of justice when the blog merely informs the reader of the statutes and case law.
If the playing field were fair, this would clearly be a frivolous pleading, but when you see the property records of Melissa Smart and Jerome Larkin, you clearly know what is going on. And the appeal to the Ill. Supreme Court is no better. They denied my Citizens Participation Act petition and the ARDC wrongfully gloats about this illegal action against me.
IN THE SUPREME COURT OF ILLINOIS
In the Matter of:
JOANNE MARlE DENISON
) Commission No. 2013PROOOOI
No. 6192441 )
PETITION FOR INTERlM SUSPENSION
PURSUANT TO SUPREME COURT RULE 774
Jerome Larkin, Administrator of the Attorney Registration and Disciplinary Commission,
by his attorneys, Sharon D. Opryszek and Melissa A. Smart, pursuant to Supreme Court Rule 774, respectfully requests that the Court issue a rule for Respondent Joarme Marie Denison to show cause why she should not be suspended until further order of the Court, effective immediately, for having engaged in conduct which threatens irreparable harm to the public, her clients, and to the orderly administration of justice. In support, the Administrator states:
l, Respondent is a 57-year-old attorney who was admitted to practice law in Illinois
on May 8, 1986.
2. Respondent is currently the subject of a disciplinary proceeding in which she
initially appeared pro se; after four days of hearing, Nejla Lane filed her appearance as cocounsel.
Respondent participated in multiple pretrial hearings, filed multiple pre-hearing motions
with the Hearing Panel, the First District Appellate Court I and a motion for a supervisory order with the Supreme Court2, none of which was successful. The Hearing Board, following a six day hearing, has recommended that Respondent be suspended for three years and until further order.
‘In Re Denison v. ARDC and Larkin, docket number 1-13-1843 alleging a violation of 750 ILCS 110, the CItizens
Participation Act. On July 2, 2013. the Court dismissed the matter with prejudice.
, In re Denison v. tARDC. docket number 115688. On March 28, 2013, the Court denied Respondent’s motion.
of the Court. In re Denison, Commission No. 20l3PROOOOl. The November 21, 2014 Report and Recommendation of the Hearing Board is attached as Exhibit One.
3. The Hearing Board found that Respondent repeatedly made statements
concerning the integrity of judges, knowing that those statements were false, or made with
reckless disregard for their truth or falsity, engaged in conduct involving dishonesty, and
engaged in conduct that was prejudicial to the administration of justice. (Exh. One, at 24·35) The Board found that Respondent failed to appreciate the nature and seriousness of her conduct. (Id., at 51) Conversely, the Board found that the Administrator’s witnesses were credible and concluded that Respondent’s suggestions of bribery, impropriety and unethical conduct on the part of the judges and attorneys who testified against her were false. (Id., at 27)
4. The Board recommended that Respondent be suspended for three years and until
further order of the Court, finding that Respondent’s misconduct was serious, involved her
making numerous improper statements over a period of time, (Id., at 49) and that “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.” (Id., at 50)
5. As described in additional detail, infra, Respondent’s misconduct meets the
requirements for an interim suspension under Supreme Court Rule 774(a)(2).
6. On December 12, 2014, Respondent filed exceptions to the Hearing Board’s
Report and Recommendation. As a result, the disciplinary proceeding is currently pending before the Review Board of the Commission.
II. DESCRIPTION OF THE RESPONDENT’S MISCONDUCT
A. The Proven Misconduct
7. In the instant matter, the statements known to be false or made in reckless
disregard as to their truth and veracity are based on statements made by Respondent on a web log (hereinafter “blog”) concerning adult guardianship proceeding regarding Mary O. Sykes (hereinafter “Mary”) and persons involved at that proceeding. (Exh. One, at 1,3-4) In July 2009, one of Mary’s daughters, Carolyn Toerpe (hereinafter “Carolyn”) petitioned to be appointed guardian of Mary’s person and estate due to Mary’s dementia and memory loss (ld., at 4) Shortly thereafter, the Court appointed attorneys Cynthia Farenga (hereinafter “Farenga”) and Adam Stem as guardians ad litem (hereinafter “OALs”). Mary’s daughter Gloria Sykes (hereinafter “Gloria”) later filed counter-petitions contesting Carolyn’s appointment as Mary’s guardian. (ld.)
8. In November 2009, Respondent attempted to file her appearance on behalf of
Gloria in the probate proceeding; however, the court disqualified Respondent as Gloria’s
counsel. (Id., at 7) Gloria and Mary were involved in litigation (hereinafter “Lumbennan’ s case”) which involved settlement proceeds of $700,000 from the lawsuit. (ld., at 6) Respondent notarized Mary’s signature on the apportionment agreement, which relinquished Mary’s interest in approximately $700,000 in settlement funds, thereby turning over the entirety of the funds to Gloria. (ld., at 5-6) On December 7, 2009, the probate court disqualified Respondent as Gloria’s attorney due to her potential role as a witness related to the notarization of Mary’s signature on an apportionment agreement. (ld., at 7)
9. In December, 2009, after a multitude of probate court proceedings initiated by
Gloria. the probate court adjudicated Mary incompetent and appointed Carolyn her guardian.
(ld., at 5)
10. Beginning in November 2011, Respondent wrote and administered an internet
blog related to the Mary G. Sykes probate case (http://www.marygsykes.com) which alleged corruption in the probate court. particularly in relation to Mary’s guardianship proceeding. (ld.
at 8, 14)
II. Respondent’s blog included allegations of corruption by Judge Jane Louise Stuart,
Justice Connors (Exh. One. at 9) the GAls, and Carolyn’S attorney, Peter Schmiedel (hereinafter “Schmiedel”). (Id., at 7-16) Respondent’s allegations of misconduct were summarized on her blog in a “Table of Torts,” which accused the judges. attorneys and Carolyn of corruption, misfeasance, perpetration of misdemeanors and felonies, theft, forgery, and Greylord-type misconduct, including accusations of bribery and ex parle communications between GALs and the probate judge. (Id., at 8-15)
12. The Hearing Board found that Respondent authored all the statements charged in
the Administrator’s complaint, and that Respondent’s statements in her blog, “clearly convey the message that corruption affected the Sykes case and its outcome, with the judges and GALS benefitting, to Mary’s detriment.” (Id., at 25) Further, the Board found the suggestions made by Respondent in the blogs were false and that the statements impugned the integrity of the judges and attorneys in the probate matter. (Id.)
B. Findings of Misconduct by the Hearing Board
13. The Hearing Board found that Respondent’s statements were false, lacked any
legitimate factual basis, impugned the integrity of the judges involved in the Sykes guardianship matter and that Respondent made the statements with reckless disregard for their truth or falsity, in violation of Rule 8.2(a) of the Illinois Rules of Professional Conduct. (Id., at 25, 29-30) The Board further found that the statements accusing the judges, as well as the GALS, of serious misconduct in the Sykes matter were false and made with reckless disregard for their truth or falsity, and that by making the statements, Respondent engaged in conduct involving dishonesty, in violation of Rule 8.4(c) of the illinois Rules of Professional Conduct. (Id., at 25, 30) Finally,
the Board found that Respondent’s baseless accusations of misconduct by the judges and attorneys involved in the Sykes guardianship matter, her advising Gloria in filing of numerous frivolous motions often related to allegations on Respondent’s blog. undermined and interfered with the effective functioning of the judicial process and thereby prejudiced the administration of justice, in violation of Rule 8A(d) of the Illinois Rules of Professional Conduct. (Exh. One, at 33)
C. Aggravating Factors
14. The Hearing Board found that the “extent and relentlessness” of Respondent’s
“unfounded accusations of corruption by individual judges and lawyer,” caused significant harm and seriously impugned the integrity of Farenga, Stem and Schmiedel. (Id., at 42, 50) The Board found that Respondent neither understands the nature and seriousness of her misconduct, nor showed remorse, nor understood basic elements of practicing law. (Id., at 51-52)
15. The Board found that Respondent’s conduct during the pendency of the
proceedings represented a significant aggravating factor, as she repeatedly failed to follow the Chair’s orders, failed to comply with rules of the tribunal, and sought to have the Chair and opposing counsel communicate with her in a manner inconsistent with the rules of the tribunal.
(Id., at 52) The Board found that even while engaged in the disciplinary hearing, Respondent’s recklessness regarding the truth of her statements in the blog continued, as she accused others of serious wrongdoing, “without having a clue whether her allegations have any basis in reality.”
(Id., at 51)
16. The Board referred to Respondent’s blog post shortly before her March 9, 2014
cross-examination, wherein Respondent wrote that the office of the Cook County Public
Guardian had intentionally set a fire in which a number of persons died, for the purpose of
destroying records. (Exh. One, at 44) The Board found that in advance of the serious accusations, Respondent had not conducted any investigation into the truth of the accusation that the public guardian’s office intentionally set the fatal fire. (Id.)
17. The Board expressed concern over Respondent’s filing of multiple lawsuits, all of
which had been dismissed, against the persons involved in the Sykes guardianship case, as well as the disciplinary matter. (Id., at 43) On January 20, 2014, the day before Respondent’s disciplinary hearing began, a frivolous and specious lawsuit alleging civil rights was filed by Respondent, in the United States District Court, Northern District, entitled Ditkowsky and Denison v. Stern, Farenga, Larkin, and Schmiedel, docket number I: 14-CV -00375. The matter was assigned to District Court Judge Ronald Guzman, who, on April 21, 2014, dismissed the lawsuit for failure to state a claim. A copy of the order dismissing Respondent’s lawsuit is attached as Exhibit Two.
18. Respondent appealed Judge Guzman’s dismissal to the United Stated Court of
Appeals for the Seventh Circuit in Ditkowsky and Denison v. Stern, el al., docket number 14- 1911. On November 19, 2014, the appellate court affirmed Judge Guzman’s dismissal of Respondent’s claims, calling the appeal, and lawsuit, frivolous and admonishing Respondent that while sanctions were not then being imposed; Respondent and Ditkowsky could not “move their campaign of vilification from the Internet to the courthouse and expect the judiciary to be unconcerned.” The Seventh Circuit’s opinion is attached as Exhibit Three.
19. On February 28, 2014, Respondent filed yet another lawsuit in the United States
District Court, Northern District, entitled Denison v. Larkin, Smart, Opryszek, Black Nextpoint, Inc., and the Dlinois Attorney Registration and DisCipline (sic) CommiSSion, docket number , The federal lawsuit was filed by Respondent and the now-suspended attOrney Kenneth Dilkowsky. In re Dllkcwsky, M.R. 26156, 12PRl4 (March 14,2014)
1:14-CV-01470. That lawsuit alleged copyright infringement by the Administrator for using
portions of Respondent’s copyrighted blog as evidence against her in the instant matter. The matter was assigned to Judge Amy St. Eve, who, on August 13,2014, dismissed the matter for failure to state a claim. A copy of the order dismissing Respondent’s copyright lawsuit is attached as Exhibit Four.
D. Hearing Board’s Recommendation for Discipline
20. The Hearing Board had “serious doubt whether or not Respondent is willing or
able to conform her future conduct to proper legal standards.” (Exh. One, at 50) The Board found that even during the pendency of the hearing. Respondent continued with her recklessness. (Id., at 51-52) The Board found that Respondent’s misconduct continued during the course of the hearing. The Board concluded that Respondent engaged in the following misconduct:
a making a statement that the lawyer knows to be 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. in violation of Rule 8.2 of the Illinois Rules of
b. conduct involving dishonesty, fraud, deceit, or misrepresentation,
ill violation of Rule 8.4(c) of the Illinois Rules of Professional
c. conduct that is prejudicial to the administration of justice, in
violation of Rule S.4( d) of the Illinois Rules of Professional
21. Supreme Court Rule 774(a)(2) allows the Administrator to petition the Court
during the pendency of a disciplinary proceeding for a rule to show cause why a respondent should not be suspended from the practice of law until further order of the Court. The petition must ailege that the Inquiry Board has voted a complaint; that the respondent committed a violation of the Illinois Rules of Professional Conduct which involves fraud or moral turpitude,
or which threatens irreparable injury to the public, his or her clients, or to the orderly
administration of justice; and that there appears to be persuasive evidence to support the charge.
22. In this case, the Inquiry Board voted a complaint against Respondent which was
filed on January 8, 2013. (Exh. One, at I) Following a six-day hearing in which Respondent
participated, the Hearing Board expressed serious doubt about Respondent’s willingness, or ability, to conform her behavior to comport with future legal standards, and found that
Respondent failed to understand the nature and seriousness of her misconduct. (Id., at 50-51)
23. Respondent’s misconduct meets the three requirements for an interim suspension
pursuant to Rule 774(a)(2). As discussed supra, the Hearing Board’s November 21, 2014 Report and Recommendation concluded that the Administrator proved misconduct warranting Respondent’s suspension for three-years and until further order of the Court. (Id., at 54) The Board recommended that Respondent’ s suspension continue until further order of the Court to protect the pUblic. (Id.) The Board expressly found that “Respondent’s lack of understanding of the ramifications of her conduct and of the importance of following proper legal procedures,” left the Board with “serious doubt as to Respondent’s ability to conform her future conduct to professional standards,” based in part, on Respondent’s continued accusations of others serious wrongdoing, “without having a clue whether her allegations have any basis in reality.” (Id., at 51, 54) The Board found Respondent’s continued, baseless allegations were available to a large
audience via her public blog which created a risk of harm to the reputations of the individuals criticized and damaged the public’s perception of the judicial system with unfounded allegations of corruption. (Jd., at 51)
24. The Court has imposed interim suspensions for similar misconduct. See, e.g., In
re Amu, M.R. 26545, II PR 106 (May 16,2014) (rule to show cause discharged and suspension
until further order of the Court for attorney who repeatedly made unfounded accusations
attacking judges’ integrity and expressed little comprehension of the harm caused by his actions) Like Amu, Respondent’s repeated false accusations against judges, her failure to conform her conduct to comport with the rules of professional conduct or acknowledge any misconduct on her part warrant an interim suspension.
25. The Seventh Circuit voiced their concerns over Respondent’s ongoing conduct in
filing frivolous appeals, as described in paragraph eighteen, supra.
24. Based on the infonnation set forth above, the Administrator has established
grounds for this Court to issue a rule to show cause in this matter. A suspension until further order of court pursuant to Supreme Court Rule 774 is required for the purposes of protecting the public, the integrity of the profession and the administration of justice.
WHEREFORE, the Administrator requests that the Court issue a rule for Respondent
Joanne Marie Denison to show cause why she should not be suspended until further order of the Court pursuant to Rule 774.
Sharon D. Opryszek
Counsel for Administrator
One Prudential Plaza
130 East Randolph Drive, Suite 1500
Chicago, Illinois 60601-6219
Jerome Larkin, Administrator
Attorney Registration and
By: Is/Sharon D. Opryszek
Sharon D. Opryszek