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11/22/89 In Re Anthony Joseph Polito

November 22, 1989

IN RE ANTHONY JOSEPH POLITO, PETITIONER


SUPREME COURT OF ILLINOIS

547 N.E.2d 465, 132 Ill. 2d 294, 138 Ill. Dec. 298 1989.IL.1819

Disciplinary proceeding.

APPELLATE Judges:

CHIEF JUSTICE MORAN delivered the opinion of the court.

DECISION OF THE COURT DELIVERED BY THE HONORABLE JUDGE MORAN

Petitioner, Anthony Joseph Polito, was disbarred on consent (107 Ill. 2d R. 762) on April 20, 1984. On June 17, 1988, petitioner filed his amended petition for reinstatement to the roll of attorneys pursuant to Supreme Court Rule 767 (107 Ill. 2d R. 767). The Administrator of the Attorney Registration and Disciplinary Commission filed objections to the petition. The hearing panel found that petitioner was rehabilitated and recommended that the petition be allowed. A majority of the Review Board also recommended that the petition be allowed. One member of the Review Board Dissented and recommended that the petition be denied. The Administrator filed exceptions to the report and recommendation of the Review Board (107 Ill. 2d R. 753(e)(5)).

The only issue presented is whether petitioner should be reinstated to the roll of attorneys.

Petitioner was admitted to practice law in Illinois on November 18, 1965. Following his admission, petitioner held a variety of legal positions until 1970, when he opened his private practice. In 1976, petitioner converted a client's $120 bond refund. Four years later, in October 1980, while disciplinary proceedings were pending against him for the 1976 conversion, petitioner converted approximately $4,400 in clients' funds.

On November 26, 1980, a Review Board reprimanded petitioner for the 1976 conversion. Less than three years later, on October 28, 1983, a Review Board recommended that petitioner be disbarred for the 1980 conversions; the 1976 conversion was an aggravating factor. On April 20, 1984, petitioner was disbarred on consent (107 Ill. 2d R. 762).

On April 25, 1984, five days after petitioner was disbarred on consent, Michael Duerr retained him as defense counsel and received his business cards, which represented that he was an attorney. On May 16, 1984, petitioner went to court, entered his appearance on Duerr's behalf and obtained a continuance. On June 20, 1984, petitioner and Duerr went to the courthouse for a scheduled court date. While at the courthouse, an assistant State's Attorney approached petitioner and confronted him with his disbarrment and engagement in the unauthorized practice of law. Petitioner fled the courthouse. Duerr later learned that petitioner was not licensed to practice law.

On September 12, 1984, petitioner applied for a position as an automobile salesman at Mont Clare Pontiac in Chicago. In his employment application, petitioner listed his present position as a "SELF-EMPLOYED ATTORNEY," when, in fact, he had been disbarred five months earlier.

On September 19, 1984, petitioner began working at Mont Clare Pontiac. On January 15, 1985, petitioner's employment with Mont Clare Pontiac was terminated, and one week later, on January 21, 1985, he began working at Borg Pontiac in Downers Grove, Illinois.

On January 25, 1985, petitioner sent letters to his clients notifying them that he could not continue to represent them. Supreme Court Rule 764 requires such letters and provides in part: "[w]ithin 21 days after an attorney has been . . . disbarred on consent . . . the attorney shall notify . . . all clients to whom he is responsible for pending matters, of the fact that he cannot continue to represent them." (107 Ill. 2d R. 764.) Consequently, the letters which petitioner sent to his clients failed to comply with Rule 764, because they were sent over nine months after he was disbarred on consent.

On February 25, 1985, petitioner's employment at Borg Pontiac was terminated. On March 4, 1985, petitioner began working at Thomas Dodge in Orland Park, Illinois. On March 8, 1985, petitioner voluntarily terminated his employment at Thomas Dodge in order to begin working at Olympia Dodge in Countryside, Illinois. On March 9, 1985, petitioner began working at Olympia Dodge and three weeks later, on March 27, 1985, his employment was terminated. On ...


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