BEFORE THE HEARING BOARD
ILLINOIS ATTORNEY REGISTRATION
In the Matter of:
RICHARD CUYLER FOLK,
Commission No. 2013PR00130
FILED --- January 23, 2014
FIRST AMENDED COMPLAINT
Jerome Larkin, Administrator of the Attorney Registration and Disciplinary Commission, by his attorney, Gina M. Abbatemarco, pursuant to Supreme Court Rule 761(d), complains of Respondent Richard Cuyler Folk, who was licensed to practice law in Illinois on November 8, 2007, and alleges that Respondent has engaged in the following conduct which subjects Respondent to discipline pursuant to Supreme Court Rule 770:
Criminal conduct of transporting a controlled substance (marijuana)
1. In late December 2012, Respondent traveled to California to visit some friends for the New Year's holiday. During the visit, Respondent purchased 7.25 pounds of "sour diesel" marijuana from a friend, two pounds of which he intended to distribute to other friends in Illinois and a friend in Denver who had given Respondent money for the purchase. Sometime after January 1, 2013, Respondent began traveling from California in his grey Subaru Outback to his residence in Mount Morris, Illinois.
2. At or about 9:40 a.m. on January 3, 2013, Respondent was traveling eastbound on Interstate 80 through Winnemucca, Nevada, with the 7.25 pounds of marijuana, referred to in paragraph one, above, in his car. At that time, Respondent was stopped by the Humboldt County Sheriff's office for speeding.
3. When approached by the officer, Respondent handed him the vehicle registration and his business card, which identified Respondent as an attorney. The officer smelled marijuana in Respondent's car and asked Respondent if he could search the vehicle. Respondent denied the officer's request. When the officer then explained that he had a drug-sniffing dog in his car, Respondent stated that he did not have any drugs in the car.
4. Respondent's statement to the officer was false. As Respondent knew, he was carrying 7.25 pounds of marijuana in his car and his statements and refusal to consent to a search were intended to conceal from the officer that he had 7.25 pounds of marijuana in his car.
5. The officer then brought a trained drug-sniffing dog from his police car and walked the dog around the perimeter of Respondent's car. The officer told Respondent that the dog had detected marijuana in Respondent's car. The officer then asked Respondent if his car contained drugs, to which Respondent stated, "not that I know of." The officer asked Respondent again if he could search the car and Respondent consented to a search of two pieces of luggage in his car but not to a search of the entire car.
6. Respondent's statement to the officer that he did not know if his car contained drugs was false. As Respondent knew, he was carrying 7.25 pounds of marijuana in his car and his statements and refusal to consent to a full search were intended to conceal from the officer that he had 7.25 pounds of marijuana in his car.
7. The officer then obtained a warrant by phone to search Respondent's entire vehicle. After searching the vehicle, the officer found a vacuum-sealing machine, supplies for the machine, vacuum-sealed brownies containing marijuana and eight separate vacuum-sealed bags of marijuana (totaling 7.25 pounds of marijuana) and $1,050 in cash. The officer then arrested Respondent.
8. On or about January 8, 2013, the Humboldt County District Attorney charged Respondent in the Justice's Court of Union Township, Humboldt County, Nevada, with a felony count of transporting a controlled substance, and another felony count of possession of a controlled substance for the purpose of sale. (State of Nevada v. Richard C. Folk, case number 13 CR 00016) A copy of the complaint is attached as Exhibit One.
9. On January 24, 2013, the Humboldt County District Attorney filed an amended complaint against Respondent which dismissed both felony counts described in paragraph seven, above, and charged Respondent instead with one misdemeanor count of possession of marijuana. On or about February 15, 2013, Respondent pled guilty in case number 13 CR 00016 to possession of marijuana, a misdemeanor, in violation of NRS 453.336(4)(a) and agreed to forfeit ownership of his Subaru to the Humboldt County District Attorney's office.
10. On March 26, Judge Letty Norcutt entered an order in case number 13 CR 00016 sentencing Respondent to 19 days in jail with credit for time served, and ordered Respondent to pay a $250 fine. A copy of the docketing sheet order entry is attached as Exhibit Two.
11. As a result of the order of conviction and the conduct described above, Respondent has engaged in the following misconduct:
making statements of material fact or law to a third person (the police officer) which the lawyer knows or reasonably should have known are false, in violation of Rule 4.1(a) of the Illinois Rules of Professional Conduct (2010);
committing a criminal act that reflects adversely on the lawyer's honesty, trustworthiness or fitness as a lawyer in other respects, in violation of Rule 8.4(b) of the Illinois Rules of Professional Conduct (2010); and
conduct involving dishonesty, fraud, deceit or misrepresentation, in violation of Rule 8.4(c) of the Illinois Rules of Professional Conduct (2010).
WHEREFORE, the Administrator requests that this matter be assigned to a panel of the Hearing Board, that a hearing be held pursuant to Supreme Court Rule 761, and that the panel make findings of fact, conclusions of fact and law, and a recommendation for such discipline as is warranted.
Gina M. Abbatemarco
Jerome Larkin, Administrator