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05/18/88 In Re Robert Harvey Kunz

May 18, 1988

IN RE ROBERT HARVEY KUNZ, ATTORNEY, RESPONDENT.


SUPREME COURT OF ILLINOIS

524 N.E.2d 544, 122 Ill. 2d 547, 120 Ill. Dec. 514 1988.IL.786

Disciplinary proceeding.

APPELLATE Judges:

JUSTICE CLARK delivered the opinion of the court.

DECISION OF THE COURT DELIVERED BY THE HONORABLE JUDGE CLARK

This case comes before us on the reports and recommendations of the Hearing Board and Review Board. The respondent, attorney Robert H. Kunz, was charged by the Administrator of the Attorney Registration and Disciplinary Commission in a two-count complaint with several violations of the Code of Professional Responsibility. The Hearing Board recommended that the respondent be suspended for two years or until further order of court with probation; and that the suspension be stayed on the condition that the respondent: report periodically to the Administrator, immediately enter into a program of psychological counseling and treatment for alcohol abuse, and abstain from the use of alcohol. (See 107 Ill. 2d Rules 771(f), 772.) The Review Board recommended that the respondent be suspended for one year or until further order of court, with probation, and that the suspension be stayed on the condition that the respondent immediately enter into a program of psychological counseling and treatment for alcohol abuse, abstaining from the use of alcohol, subject to such requirements that the Administrator might impose in order to supervise the stay of the suspension. The Administrator has filed exceptions to the recommendation of probation and to the length of the suspension.

The respondent has been licensed to practice law in Illinois since April 14, 1972. On December 17, 1981, he was arrested and charged with driving while his license was suspended. (Ill. Rev. Stat. 1981, ch. 95 1/2, par. 6-303.) He was convicted of the charge in the circuit court of Peoria County on June 29, 1983. He was sentenced to pay a fine and to be subject to court supervision for a period of three months. The court's order provided that the respondent was not to violate any law during the period of supervision, which was to run from June 29, 1983, until September 28, 1983.

On September 17, 1983, less than two weeks before the supervision period was due to expire, the respondent was again arrested; this time, charged with driving while under the influence of intoxicating liquor . (Ill. Rev. Stat. 1983, ch. 95 1/2, par. 11-501(a).) On January 1, 1984, before this case had come to trial, the respondent was again arrested, and charged again with DUI. After a jury trial, the respondent was found guilty of the first charge of DUI. Thereafter, the court found the respondent guilty of violating the terms of his supervision. On July 24, 1984, the respondent pled guilty to the second charge of DUI.

On August 6, 1984, the circuit court sentenced the respondent on all three charges. For driving while his license was suspended, the respondent's supervision was revoked (Ill. Rev. Stat. 1983, ch. 38, par. 1005-6-4.1), and he was sentenced to pay court costs and to serve seven days in jail. For the first DUI charge, he was sentenced to one year of probation, 30 days in jail, and costs. For the second DUI charge he was sentenced to one year of probation, 60 days in jail, and costs. The 60- and 30-day jail terms were to be served concurrently.

Some time after his sentencing, the respondent enrolled in an in-patient substance-abuse program at the Veteran's Administration Hospital in Danville, Illinois. He received a stay of his sentences to attend the program. While there, he attended meetings of Alcoholics Anonymous. After leaving the hospital he attended three outpatient meetings about alcohol abuse, but did not join Alcoholics Anonymous or any other professional or medical treatment group.

On October 19, 1984, the circuit court ordered the respondent to report to Peoria County jail on October 31 to begin serving his sentences. Instead, the respondent, by his own testimony, "got drunk," and "hopped on a bus" bound for Los Angeles, California, stopping on the way in Las Vegas, Nevada, to "see some friends." A warrant was issued for the respondent's arrest. After several days of travel, the respondent called the Peoria County sheriff's department and made arrangements to return to Illinois. On November 12, 1984, the respondent surrendered and began serving his sentences. After 56 days in jail, he was released.

On January 24, 1986, the Administrator filed a two count complaint with the Hearing Board, alleging the acts outlined above, and charging that these acts constituted: (1) conduct prejudicial to the administration of Justice in violation of Rule 1 -- 102(a)(5) of the Illinois Code of Professional Responsibility (107 Ill. 2d R. 1 -- 102(a)(5)); (2) disregard of the ruling of a tribunal in violation of Rule 7 -- 106(a) of the Code (107 Ill. 2d R. 7 -- 106(a)); and (3) conduct which tends to bring the courts and the legal profession into disrepute (107 Ill. 2d R. 771). The respondent failed to answer or otherwise plead to the complaint. As a result of this failure, the Hearing Board on March 21, 1986, entered an order pursuant to Commission Rule 236 deeming that the facts of the complaint had been admitted.

At a hearing held on July 11, 1986, the Administrator presented the evidence outlined above. In addition, the Administrator introduced into evidence certain newspaper articles from the Peoria Journal Star. These articles stated that the respondent had been charged with and found guilty of the various offenses listed above, and had failed to appear to begin serving his sentence. The articles were admitted not to prove the truth of the statements but only for the limited purpose of proving that the actions of the respondent had been published and circulated in the community and therefore could constitute conduct tending to bring the courts and legal profession into disrepute.

At the hearing, the respondent appeared pro se, admitting the truth of the allegations in the complaint. He stated that he was continuing to consume alcoholic beverages on a social basis, although he no longer drove an automobile. He further testified that he did not believe that he needed further professional care, and that he had entered the ...


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