The text below is an early attempt by me to explain my legal situation with the ARDC. It is out of date, and I want to improve it.
A major source of my hopelessness is my experience with the ARDC: the Attorney Registration and Disciplinary Commission of the Supreme Court of Illinois.
[To understand the absurdities of the ARDC’s actions, one must have some knowledge of my interactions with Naomi Coverdill. This entire situation is insanely complex, but I will try to add information to the Naomi Coverdill page so that the ARDC events make more sense.]
This letter is dated April 7, 2010, but it was not my first interaction with the ARDC. Instead, on April 8, 2010 I received a phone call from Ms. Wendy J. Muchman of the ARDC. Nevertheless, I shall begin by sharing the letter.
[At some point in the future, I might describe the phone call here, but when I write or talk about it, I get extremely upset, which is why I had not yet expanded this section. For me, that phone call illustrates everything that is wrong with our legal system, with lawyers, and with people in general. When a government employee calls you and explicitly says,
I don’t have the legal authority to tell you what to do, and then proceeds to tell you what to do (or they will use their power to hurt you), it is distressing.]
The ARDC gave me the following document, which is a page of hand-written notes describing two phone calls. One phone call was with Naomi Coverdill. The second phone call was from Ms. Wendy J. Muchman, Chief Investigator and Chief Litigator for the ARDC, to me. According to the ARDC’s own hand-written notes, Ms. Muchman said to me,
I couldn’t legally stop him from contacting Justine Coverdill.
Justine Coverdill was a potential witness in a potential judicial proceeding. In the legal world, a witness is evidence. Compare Ms. Muchman’s actions to Illinois Rule of Professional Conduct 3.4(a)
A lawyer shall not unlawfully obstruct another party’s access to evidence . . .
In their very first interaction with me, the ARDC’s lawyers knowingly and intentionally violated the law by obstructing my access to evidence. Unfortunately, this was not the only time they broke the law during my case. (I discuss the phone call in more detail in a letter I wrote to the ARDC.)
I wrote a letter back to the ARDC.
The Illinois Supreme Court, under Rule 754, gave the power to issue subpoenas to the Administrator to collect
pertinent facts concerning any matter which is the subject of an investigation. Without being overly technical, this also means that the Administrator does not have the power to subpoena facts that are not pertinent. Furthermore, when someone uses a subpoena to invade your privacy and examine records about you, they are required to notify you of the subpoena. The purpose of the notice is to give you the opportunity to go to court and argue to a judge that the subpoena requests facts that are not pertinent. In legal terms, if you disagree with a subpoena, you file a “motion to quash” the subpoena, which is Rule 754(d).
Before I had even written my response to the ARDC, the Administrator at the ARDC issued a subpoena, but there were at least two problems with the subpoena. First, he did not directly give me notice of the subpoena: I only found out about it because my former school, Chicago-Kent College of Law, told me about the subpoena. Second, the scope of the subpoena is for every record about me at the school: this would obviously include facts (documents) that are not “pertinent” to the investigation. And, in fact, the records returned by the school to the ARDC were mostly documents that were not pertinent. Arguably, not one document was pertinent: the documents included things such as my final exam in International Trade. How that is remotely “pertinent” is beyond my comprehension. Keep in mind, however, that Chicago-Kent was required by law to provide that final exam and all of the documents it provided. It is not the duty of Chicago-Kent to decide what records are pertinent. Instead, the law requires that the ARDC issue subpoenas that are written to only ask for pertinent documents. This subpoena was obviously over-broad and would clearly require Chicago-Kent to produce documents that were not pertinent. Therefore, the subpoena, as written, obviously violated the law.
[Time passes. Nothing happens. I get a subpoena. I hire a lawyer. Things happen. I run out of money to have a lawyer. Obviously, there are more details, but for now, the following will have to be sufficient.]
On October 25, 2010, the ARDC mailed a subpoena to my old address. I still do not understand how they mailed such an important document to an address they knew I did not live at. By time the subpoena was forwarded to the correct address, I had very little time to figure out what to do. I scrambled and I hired a lawyer, Elizabeth Granoff, who used to work at the ARDC and was even friends with Ms. Muchman. Ms. Granoff notified the ARDC and asked them to reschedule the subpoena. Of course, Ms. Muchman rescheduled it at Ms. Granoff’s request. After Ms. Muchman granted Ms. Granoff’s request, events were complicated and miscommunication was rampant. One problem was paying Ms. Granoff, there were issues with my checking account and with the way Ms. Granoff ran my credit cards. I recall asking my family for some help, but they declined. Ms. Granoff notified Ms. Muchman that she was no longer my lawyer. I very busy preparing for final exams, and the new date was right in the middle of my exams. (I went back to school and was pursuing a masters of law.)
In law school, the final exam is the only grade. No tests, quizzes, or graded homework: just the final exam. A final exam is always important, but in law school it is practically the only thing that matters. Despite the scheduling conflict, Ms. Muchman said that she would not agree to reschedule the subpoena unless I hired Ms. Granoff as my lawyer. Ms. Muchman also wrote this stern letter to me, again sending it to the wrong address. I hired Ms. Granoff; Ms. Muchman agreed to reschedule it again after Ms. Granoff requested it—despite Ms. Muchman’s earlier letter stating she would not reschedule.
Things get worse. I was upset. For now, this letter from me to the ARDC will summarize what happened.
And that only brings us up to May 2011. There is much more.
[As I will explain with more detail in the future, I am not charged with any crimes. The ARDC cannot prosecute criminal trials; the ARDC only litigates accusations of ethical violations. At first, this might seem like lawyer semantics, but the distinction is extremely important. If I were charged with an actual crime, for example, I would have the right to a court-appointed lawyer. I am not charged with a crime, so I do not have that right. That is just one example of dozens of very important differences between the ARDC process and being charged with an actual crime.]
In the section “ARDC Documents” are most of the court documents, with little or no commentary, in chronological order.