The Bar News

Illinois Supreme Court Disbars Eight, Suspends 17 in Latest Disciplinary Filing

The Illinois Supreme Court announced the filing of lawyer disciplinary orders on September 21, 2020. Sanctions were imposed because the lawyers engaged in professional misconduct by violating state ethics law.

DISBARRED

  • Jacob Thomas DiCiaula, Bloomington

    Mr. DiCiaula, who was licensed in 2008, was disbarred on consent. He pled guilty to one misdemeanor offense of driving while intoxicated in the state of Virginia and one misdemeanor offense of driving while under the influence of alcohol in Illinois. He did not report these convictions to the Administrator. He also appeared in court on behalf of a client while intoxicated. 

  • Jesse V. Harris, Chicago

    Mr. Harris, who was licensed in 1998, was disbarred on consent. In the course of representing two clients in personal injury matters, he misappropriated $44,643.37 in settlement funds.

  • Parker Russell Himes, Chicago

    Mr. Himes, who was licensed in 2013, was disbarred on consent. He was convicted in North Carolina of two felony counts of obtaining controlled substances by fraud or forgery and five felony counts of attempting to obtain controlled substances by fraud or forgery, which involved him presenting fraudulent prescriptions for opioids to pharmacies.

  • Jeffrey Joseph Keck, Woodstock

    Mr. Keck, who was licensed in 1978, was disbarred. He engaged in a conflict of interest by drafting a will for his mother that named himself as the sole beneficiary of her estate, thereby disinheriting his only brother. He also dishonestly converted over $387,000 of his mother’s assets, and presented false documents and failed to promptly deliver estate assets to the correct beneficiaries of the estate. Finally, he falsely denied at a deposition that he had drafted his mother’s will and offered fabricated evidence to the court in a probate proceeding. 

  • Kurt Joseph LeVitus, Highland Park

    Mr. LeVitus, who was licensed in 1993, was disbarred on consent. In the course of representing four separate clients in probate and estate matters, he misappropriated over $183,000 in funds owed to his clients, their heirs, or third parties.

  • Mark Brian Moran, Aviston

    Mr. Moran was licensed in Missouri in 1987 and in Illinois in 1989. The Missouri Supreme Court disbarred Mr. Moran for converting approximately $26,000 from a client and for making misrepresentations to the client. The Supreme Court of Illinois imposed reciprocal discipline and disbarred him in Illinois.

  • David Alan Novoselsky, Waukegan

    Mr. Novoselsky, who was licensed in 1973 and who has been previously disciplined, was disbarred. During the pendency of a wrongful death case, he filed lawsuits in federal and state courts that contained baseless and false allegations against other attorneys involved in the case. He also attempted to remove a state court sanctions proceeding to federal court without any reasonable basis, and he falsely asserted in a court filing and an affidavit that he had been instructed by a circuit court judge to file certain pleadings. In a separate guardianship case, he filed a motion for sanctions against an attorney and motions for substitution of judge that had no objectively reasonable basis.

  • Vincent Demarti Porter, Allen Park, Michigan

    Mr. Porter, who was licensed in 2006, was disbarred. He assisted clients in perpetrating a fraudulent investment opportunity targeting wealthy athletes, made misrepresentations about the investment opportunity, and committed the criminal act of misprision of a felony.

 

SUSPENDED

  • Aadam Mir Alikhan, Danville

    Mr. Alikhan, who was licensed in 2007, was suspended for two years and until further order of the Court. While he was employed as an assistant state’s attorney, he purchased and used cocaine. During that period of time, he prosecuted felony cases including cases involving possession and sale of controlled substances.  

  • Bruce Andrew Bonebrake, Oswego

    Mr. Bonebrake, who was licensed in 2005, was suspended for one year and until further order of the Court. In 2013, he engaged in the unauthorized practice of law by drafting a will for a Missouri resident disposing of property in that State, despite never having been licensed to practice law in that jurisdiction. Following that person’s death, Mr. Bonebrake made several profane and threatening telephone calls to the man’s adult children.

  • Louis Worthington Brydges, Libertyville

    Mr. Brydges, who was licensed in 1980, was suspended for five months and until he pays restitution to two former clients, with the suspension stayed in its entirety subject to a one-year period of conditional probation. Between 2012 and 2015, he neglected two separate mortgage foreclosure defense matters when he failed to timely file documents, and he also delayed in filing a loan modification request for one of the clients. The fees he collected from each client, who paid the same monthly amount regardless of the level of activity in their cases, were unreasonable.  

  • Marc Ericson Darnell, Newport News, Virginia

    Mr. Darnell was licensed in Illinois in 2005 and in Virginia in 2007. The Virginia State Bar Disciplinary Board suspended Mr. Darnell for three years for incompetently representing several clients, failing to communicate with those clients, and mishandling client funds. The Supreme Court of Illinois imposed reciprocal discipline and suspended him in Illinois for three years and until he is reinstated to the practice of law in Virginia. The suspension is effective on October 13, 2020.

  • Ronald Richard Duebbert*, Belleville

    Mr. Duebbert, who was licensed in 1990, was suspended on an interim basis and until further order of the Court. Mr. Duebbert, a former circuit court judge, was removed from the bench by the Illinois Courts Commission in January 2020 for giving false and misleading statements to law enforcement officers who were investigating a homicide in which one of his friends had been identified as a suspect, and for testifying falsely before the Judicial Inquiry Board. Mr. Duebbert is currently the subject of a two-count disciplinary complaint alleging the same misconduct. 

  • David Matthew Hampton, Frankfort

    Mr. Hampton, who was licensed in 1999, was suspended for six months. He converted $2,375.72 in escrow funds he had agreed to hold in connection with a real estate transaction. The suspension is effective on October 13, 2020.  

  • Jeffrey Scott Harris, Maywood

    Mr. Harris, who was licensed to practice in 1988, was suspended for 30 days. He failed to act with reasonable diligence in handling an appeal, resulting in its dismissal. In another matter, he failed to timely act to seek either to quash a body attachment or modify orders limiting his client’s parenting time, and he failed to inform his client of a court order. The suspension is effective on October 13, 2020.

  • Douglas Gordon Iler, Chino, California

    Mr. Iler was licensed in Illinois in 2004 and in California in 2005. The Supreme Court of California entered an order suspending him for two years, with the suspension stayed by a two-year period of conditional probation, including that he be suspended for the first year of his probation. He had engaged in various acts of professional misconduct in four client matters, including failing to respond to discovery requests, failing to respond to client requests for information, providing false information to a client and a judge, and failing to cooperate with the California State Bar’s investigations into his conduct. The Supreme Court of Illinois imposed reciprocal discipline and suspended him for one year and until he is reinstated to the practice of law in California.  The suspension is effective on October 13, 2020.

  • Joanne J. Matousek, Wilmette

    Ms. Matousek, who was licensed in 1987, was suspended for three years and until further order of the Court, with the suspension stayed after three months by a five-year period of probation, subject to conditions, for conduct resulting in a conviction for felony aggravated driving under the influence of alcohol. Ms. Matousek, despite having three prior DUI convictions, consumed alcohol and drove her vehicle until she collided with another vehicle. The suspension is effective on October 13, 2020.  

  • Michael Joseph Mulvey, Chicago

    Mr. Mulvey, who was licensed in 2007, was suspended for two years and until further order of the Court. He made misrepresentations to clients, opposing counsel, and others in a number of workers’ compensation cases. He also settled three client’s workers’ compensation claims without his clients’ authority.

  • Paula McKemie Newcomb, Benton

    Ms. Newcomb, who was licensed in 1989, was suspended for 18 months, stayed after nine months by nine months of probation with conditions. She failed to timely inform a client that she had not filed his personal injury action within the applicable statute of limitations period, and she attempted to make an agreement limiting her liability to that client. The suspension is effective on October 13, 2020.  

  • Patrick J. O’Shea*, Wheaton

    Mr. O’Shea, who was licensed in 1979, was suspended on an interim basis and until further order of the Court. Mr. O’Shea had served as a circuit court judge until he was removed from the bench by the Illinois Courts Commission in September 2019 for making misrepresentations to police officers who were investigating a bullet hole in the wall of his neighbor’s apartment, and for testifying falsely before the Judicial Inquiry Board about his statements to police. Mr. O’Shea is the subject of a two-count disciplinary complaint alleging the same misconduct. 

  • James Arthur Regas, Chicago

    Mr. Regas, who was licensed in 1953, was suspended for three years and until further order of the Court, based on his conviction for concealing material facts and making materially false statements with respect to matters within the jurisdiction of a branch of the federal government in connection with the operation of a bank of which he was chairman of the board of directors. 

  • Alfred S. Vano, Mount Prospect

    Mr. Vano, who was licensed to practice in 1977, was suspended for three years and until further order of the Court. He converted in excess of $111,000 from four clients and several third-party lienholders.  

  • Courtney Josephine Vernon, Gilbert, Arizona

    Ms. Vernon was licensed in Illinois in 2003 and in Arizona in 2014. The Presiding Disciplinary Judge of the Supreme Court of Arizona suspended her for six months and one day, with a requirement that she complete two years of probation with conditions upon her reinstatement. Ms. Vernon’s misconduct had resulted in two convictions for alcohol-related offenses and one arrest for disorderly conduct. The Supreme Court of Illinois imposed reciprocal discipline and suspended her in Illinois for six months and until she is reinstated to the practice of law in Arizona followed by a term of probation subject to the conditions imposed in that State and continuing until her Arizona probation is successfully completed. The suspension is effective on October 13, 2020.

  • Timothy Eacho Vojslavek, Valparaiso, Indiana

    Mr. Vojslavek was licensed in Indiana in 1989 and in Illinois in 1990. The Supreme Court of Indiana indefinitely suspended him for failing to cooperate with the Indiana Disciplinary Commission concerning a grievance that had been filed against him. The Supreme Court of Illinois imposed reciprocal discipline and suspended him from the practice of law until he is reinstated in Indiana. The suspension is effective on October 13, 2020.

  • Abigail A. Williams, Washington, D.C.

    Ms. Williams was licensed in Illinois and in the District of Columbia in 2006. The District of Columbia Court of Appeals suspended her for six months, during which time she was to complete a practice management course, and required her, after the suspension, to serve a probationary period for one year under the watch of a practice monitor. She had neglected the criminal appeal of an incarcerated defendant and ignored orders of the District of Columbia Court of Appeals regarding the appeal. The Supreme Court of Illinois imposed reciprocal discipline and suspended her in Illinois for six months and until she is reinstated to the practice of law in the District of Columbia, followed by a term of probation, subject to the conditions imposed by the District of Columbia Court of Appeals and until her period of probation is successfully completed there. The suspension is effective on October 13, 2020.  

 

CENSURED

  • Donald Norman MacIntosh, San Francisco, California

    Mr. MacIntosh was licensed in Illinois in 1962 and in California in 1965. California disciplinary authorities issued a public reproval with conditions to Mr. MacIntosh arising from conduct that had resulted in his conviction for misdemeanor battery. The Supreme Court of Illinois imposed reciprocal discipline and censured Mr. MacIntosh in Illinois and placed him on probation subject to the conditions imposed upon him by the State Bar Court of California until he satisfies the conditions of his California reproval order. 

REPRIMANDED

  • William Douglass Bell, Sr., Cincinnati, Ohio

    Mr. Bell was licensed in Illinois in 1976 and in Ohio in 1977. The Supreme Court of Ohio reprimanded him for settling a landlord-tenant dispute without the consent of his client, the landlord. The Supreme Court of Illinois imposed reciprocal discipline and reprimanded Mr. Bell.
  • Leila Louisa Hale, Henderson, Nevada

    Ms. Hale was licensed in Nevada in 2000 and in Illinois in 2013. Nevada disciplinary authorities publicly reprimanded Ms. Hale for allowing a non-attorney employee to engage in the unauthorized practice of law and for having clients sign agreements calling for excessive fees. The Supreme Court of Illinois imposed reciprocal discipline and reprimanded Ms. Hale.

*The order was entered by the court before the September 2020 term, but not included in any prior release.

Posted on September 21, 2020 by Rhys Saunders
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