Illinois Review Board Increases Proposed Penalty For Frivolous Tax Filings

Filed January 20:

The case is In re Jerold Wayne Barringer, 2012 PR 00055. The Hearing Board recommended a six month suspension and until further order of court. The Review Board  “recommended that Respondent be suspended for a period of two years stayed after six months by a period of probation for eighteen months with conditions.”

Barringer’s troubles included an appeal he handled before the Seventh Circuit on behalf of a man convicted of tax evasion, money laundering and wire fraud. The Seventh Circuit found the lawyer’s performance to be below that of a pro se litigant. The Review Board explained:

In his opening brief, Respondent based his arguments on two primary premises?1) that the federal government was required to prove at trial that Patridge was aware of the specific provisions of the tax code that he was accused of violating and 2) that the federal government was prohibited from subjecting Patridge to penalties because the tax forms in question failed to display a valid control number from the Office of Budget and Management as allegedly required by the Paperwork Reduction Act of 1995.

The Court of Appeals issued an opinion finding that the nineteen issues raised by Respondent in his brief, including the above issues, were “all frivolous.” The court also stated that Respondent “performed below the standard of a pro selitigant; we have serious doubt about his fitness to practice law.” United States v. Patridge, 507 F.3d 1092, 1093-1095 (7th Cir. 2007). The court noted that Respondent failed to follow court rules regarding requirements for the appendix to his brief. The court issued an order for Respondent to “show cause why he should not be fined $10,000 for his frivolous arguments and noncompliance with the Rules, and why he should not be suspended from practice until he demonstrates an ability to litigate an appeal competently and responsibly.” Respondent paid the fine and the court declined to suspend him.”

In another case the Tenth Circuit suspended Barringer from practicing before it. In the final matter raised, the United States District Court for the Southern District of Illinois voiced similar concerns about Barringer’s representation and terminated his ability to represent a client.

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