ARDC Charges Lawyer With Videotaping His Colleague At Law Firm


Please note: these are allegations and have not been proven.

The ARDC filed a complaint against a lawyer accusing him of surreptitiously videotaping a colleague who would sometimes change clothes in his office. The lawyer pleaded guilty to a misdemeanor charge of unauthorized videotaping.  See 720 ILCS Act 5 Section 26-4(a).

The allegations:

1. Between June 2010 and September 30, 2016, Respondent was employed as an associate at the law firm of “John Doe” LLC (hereinafter, “the firm”). From August, 2011 to the present, J. T. was also an associate at the firm.
2. Prior to the time that J.T. started his employment at the firm, Respondent and J.T. knew each other through mutual friends. In fact, Respondent introduced J.T. to the firm’s hiring partner, John Doe, for possible employment at the firm.
3. The firm’s practice is concentrated in the area of commercial litigation but the firm’s dress code is casual, allowing for the attorneys to often wear casual clothing to the office. However, when an attorney is meeting with a client, attending a deposition or handling a court appearance, appropriate professional attire is required.
4. As a result of the firm’s causal dress code practices, attorneys employed at the firm often have a change of clothes that is appropriate courtroom attire in their offices, and they change clothes in their offices before leaving for court, a deposition or a client meeting.
5. Between June and September 2016, on at least 20 different occasions, when Respondent knew that J.T. would be changing clothes in his office, Respondent placed a usb video flash drive in a hidden location in J.T.’s office without J.T.’s knowledge or consent. Using the usb flash drive, Respondent videotaped J.T. in various states of undress while J.T. was changing clothes. On each of these occasions, Respondent subsequently retrieved the device, and watched the videos for his own sexual and emotional gratification. Whenever Respondent knew J.T. had a reason to be changing clothes in his office, he would then replace the usb video flash drive into J.T.’s office.
6. At no time between June and September 2016, did J.T. know or consent to this videotaping of him changing clothes in his office. J.T. however, did notice that Respondent was spending an unusual amount of time in and around J.T.’s office and became concerned about it.
7. On September 27, 2016, J.T. found the hidden camera USB video flash drive located in the inbox in his office behind his desk.
8. On September 27, 2016, J.T. placed the device in his computer to view its contents. The next day, J.T. located videos sequenced 11-28 on the usb video flash drive. The videos were typically a half-hour long showing J.T. in states of undress and changing his clothes.
9. On September 30, 2016, J.T. informed John Doe of the above incidents and unauthorized videotaping. John Doe talked to Respondent, who then resigned from the firm.
10. On November 30, 2016, the Cook County State’s attorney’s office indicted Respondent on 2 counts of felony unauthorized videotaping, in violation of 720 ILCS Act 5, Section 26-4(a). People of the State of Illinois v. Michael Herbst, 16CR17557.
11. At all times alleged in this complaint it was a crime for “any person to knowingly make a video record or transmit live video of another person without that person’s consent in a changing room…” 720 ILCS Act 5 Section 26-4(a).
12. On May 4, 2017, Respondent pled guilty to one count of unauthorized videotaping, reduced from a felony charge to a misdemeanor.
13. On May 4, 2016, Respondent was sentenced to reporting probation for two years with a scheduled termination date of May 4, 2019, with 40 hours of community service, a no-contact order with J.T., and restitution to the firm in the sum of $6095.50.
14. As a result of the conduct described above, Respondent has engaged in the following misconduct:

  1. committing a criminal act that reflects adversely on his honesty, trustworthiness, or fitness as a lawyer in other respects, by conduct including unauthorized videotaping of J.T. without J.T.’s knowledge or consent while J.T. was changing clothes in his law office between June 2016 and September 2016 in violation of ILCS 720 Act 5 section 26-4(a) in violation of Rule 8.4(b) of the Illinois Rules of Professional Conduct (2010).

Edward X. Clinton, Jr.

‘via Blog this’

Reciprocal Reprimand For Male Lawyer Who Solicited Prostitute – But Female Lawyer Receives Three Year Suspension For Similar Conduct

ARDC | Rules and Decisions:

A lawyer, Robert Rosenthal, who received a reprimand in Oregon for soliciting a prostitute has received a reciprocal reprimand from the Illinois Supreme Court.

The Petition for Reciprocal Discipline states in part:

3. On December 24, 2014, the Oregon State Bar Disciplinary Counsel’s Office filed a stipulation for discipline against Respondent in the Supreme Court of Oregon, a copy of which is attached as Exhibit 2, charging him with, inter alia, paying a prostitute to engage in sexual conduct or sexual contact over an extended period of time, and with being convicted of five counts of patronizing a prostitute, in violation of ORS 167.008, a Class A misdemeanor. (Ex. 2, at paras. 5, 6)

4. The stipulation charged that Respondent violated the Rule 8.4(a)(2) of the Oregon Rule of Professional Conduct, which prohibits a lawyer from committing a criminal act that reflects adversely on the lawyer’s honesty, trustworthiness or fitness as a lawyer in other respects. (Id., at para. 6) The stipulation listed as mitigation that Respondent had not been disciplined before, that Respondent cooperated with law enforcement and reported his conviction to the Bar, and the fact that Respondent was sentenced to 18 months probation in the related criminal proceeding. (Id., at para. 7(e)) The stipulation listed as aggravation that Respondent engaged in multiple offenses or a pattern of misconduct, that Respondent had substantial experience in the practice of law at the time of his misconduct, and that his misconduct involved a selfish motive. (Id., at para. 7(d)) The stipulation recommended that Respondent receive a public reprimand. (Id., at para. 8, 9).

5. On March 14, 2012, the Oregon Supreme Court entered an Order approving the stipulation between the parties and publicly reprimanding Respondent for violating Rule 8.4(a)(2). A certified copy of the Order of the Oregon Supreme Court is attached as Exhibit 1.”

Comment: there is no issue with the reciprocal discipline. I question whether the ARDC (and perhaps other attorney regulators) are lenient with men who purchase sex from women and extremely harsh with women who find themselves on the wrong side of these encounters. For example, in 2013, Reema Nicki Bajaj was suspended for three years and until further order of court for the following conduct:

4. Between approximately 2005 and 2008, Respondent placed listings on an online website entitled, “” (“Adult Friend Finder”). In the advertisements, she identified herself as “Nikita.”

5. In approximately 2005, Harold Scott Pohl (“Pohl”) contacted Respondent through a listing that Respondent had posted on Adult Friend Finder. After making contact with Respondent, she and Pohl corresponded through emails. In these emails, Respondent offered to perform sexual acts with Pohl for $200 an hour. Between at least 2005 and August 13, 2010, Respondent made approximately 25 appointments to meet with Pohl. On each of those occasions, Pohl paid Respondent $100 in cash for sex acts.
6. In approximately the winter of 2007, Allan Turner (“Turner”) contacted Respondent through a listing that Respondent had posted on Adult Friend Finder. After making
contact with Respondent, she and Turner corresponded through emails. In these emails, Respondent offered to perform various sexual acts with Turner in exchange for money. Between approximately 2007 and January, 2011, on at least 10 to 12 occasions, Respondent made appointments to meet with Turner. On each of those occasions, Turner paid Respondent either in cash, or equivalent store gift cards or DVDs, for sex acts. In addition, in late 2010 or early 2011, in exchange for a sex act, Turner bought Respondent office supplies for her law office, totaling approximately $70.
7. Between April 7, 2011 and May 10, 2011, Respondent and Turner exchanged various emails. In those emails, Respondent offered to perform various sex acts with Turner and Turner’s friend in exchange for money. In the emails, Respondent arranged to meet with Turner and his friend at Turner’s home on Thursday, May 12, 2011, for the purpose of performing sex acts in exchange for money. On Wednesday, May 11, 2011, Respondent was questioned by the DeKalb County Police and the emails between Respondent and Turner were viewed by the investigating officers. Respondent did not appear for the scheduled meeting with Turner and his friend on May 12, 2011.
8. On May 31, 2011, the Office of the DeKalb County State’s Attorney filed a three-count complaint charging Respondent with prostitution, in violation of 720 ILCS 5/11-14(a).
9. On June 20, 2012, the State agreed to nolle prosse counts one and three of the complaint and Respondent pled guilty to count two, a class A misdemeanor charge of prostitution. The parties stipulated to the factual basis for the charge. Count Two of the complaint set forth the following allegations against Respondent:
on or about August 13, 2010, Respondent committed the offense of prostitution, in violation of Act 5, Section 11-14(a), Chapter 720, Illinois Compiled Statutes, in that she did knowingly agree with Harold S. Pohl to perform an act
of sexual penetration, sexual intercourse, for money, $100 United States Currency, said offense being a class A misdemeanor.
10. On June 20, 2012, the Honorable Robbin Stuckert accepted Respondent’s plea of guilt and the State’s recommended sentence. Judge Stuckert entered a judgment on the Respondent’s guilty plea and sentenced Respondent to a term of two years of court supervision, ordered Respondent to perform 50 hours of community service, pay fines and costs totaling $2,500, obtain a psychological evaluation, comply with all treatment recommendations, and obtain HIV STD testing.”
There was an aggravating factor in that Ms. Bajaj had made false statements on her bar application concerning the sexual misconduct and whether or not she had used another name. Under the ARDC’s view the use of an online alias was sufficient to be a false statement on Ms. Bajaj’s bar application.
In sum, I don’t have a problem with the reciprocal discipline but I do have a problem with the enormous disparity between the punishment between the two respondents where the male lawyer received a slap on the wrist and the female lawyer was harshly punished. The disparity in punishment is unjustifiable.
Edward X. Clinton, Jr. 

‘via Blog this’