In this disciplinary case, the respondent represented one of two defendants in a murder case. The respondent wanted to interview his client’s co-defendant. He spoke with the co-defendant without obtaining the consent of the co-defendant’s lawyer. The ARDC Hearing Board recommended a 90-day suspension.
“Rule 4.2 of the Illinois Rules of Professional Conduct states:
In representing a client, a lawyer shall not communicate about the subject of the representation with a person the lawyer knows to be represented by another lawyer in the matter, unless the lawyer has the consent of the other lawyer or is authorized to do so by law or a court order.
[Respondent]’s contact with McDonald fell squarely within Rule 4.2. In re Norton, 07 SH 37, M.R. 23278 (Sept. 22, 2009). The Administrator proved [Respondent] violated Rule 4.2.
While representing Murry, [Respondent] communicated with McDonald about the criminal case in which [Respondent] represented Murry and McMahon represented McDonald. [Respondent] admitted that he spoke with McDonald about [Respondent]’s strategy to defend Murry in the case. [Respondent] further admitted that he wanted to interview McDonald because the latter was a “crucial witness” in the case. Even though the evidence does not reflect exactly what was said during the communication, the evidence clearly shows that [Respondent] communicated about the subject matter of the representation, with a person he knew to be represented by another lawyer in the same matter in violation of Rule 4.2. See In re Galic, 02 CH 104 (Hearing Bd. Aug. 18, 2004) (reprimand).”
The respondent had been previously disciplined.