Public sector discipline: November 2008 term of the Supreme Court, and some advice to attorneys, judges, and law students

In re Edwards, Commission No. 07 CH 129, S. Ct. No. M.R. 22619 (November 18, 2008). John Joseph Edwards was employed as an Assistant State’s Attorney in Cook County, Illinois between 1998 and 2006. He was arrested and charged with unlawful possession of methamphetamine and ultimately pleaded guilty to a class 3 felony charge of possession. Edwards’ cooperation, recovery efforts, and acceptance of responsibility were considered to be mitigating factors. The Illinois Supreme Court allowed the Administrator’s petition to impose discipline on consent and suspended Edwards for two years and until further order of the Court, with the suspension stayed after one year by probation, subject to certain conditions, most of which related to his treatment for alcohol and substance abuse.

The Edwards consent petition, as well as the Supreme Court’s final order of discipline, can be found in their entirety at the Attorney Registration and Disciplinary Commission’s Web site at <>, by selecting “Rules and Decisions” and inserting the case number in the appropriate search field.

Given the recent number of substance abuse cases that have been reported in this newsletter (see Standing Committee on Government Lawyers Newsletter, vol. 10. No.1 (September 2008); vol. 10 No. 2 (December 2008)), the newsletter editors suggested a reminder to all attorneys, judges, and law students of the availability of the Lawyers’ Assistance Program (LAP). LAP provides assistance to those facing challenging periods in life that may result in substance abuse, stress, and depression. Given that members of the legal profession experience such problems at a higher rate than those in other professions, LAP is a great resource which provides absolute confidentiality guaranteed by Rule 1.6 of the Illinois Rules of Professional Conduct.

LAP also will meet with you and other concerned individuals about a colleague who is in need of compassionate and experienced assistance. LAP volunteers are available to plan and conduct an intervention that can rescue a friend who requires help.

More information can be found on LAP’s Web site at <>, and LAP can be contacted either by e-mail, or by phone at (312) 726-6607.


Leonardo Morales is a Law Clerk for the Attorney Registration and Disciplinary Commission. He is a second-year student at The John Marshall Law School.

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April 2009Volume 10Number 3PDF icon PDF version (for best printing)