Statement of Charges Allowed by the Illinois Supreme Court
and Imposing Discipline on Consent
Allowed September 22, 2017
IN THE SUPREME COURT OF ILLINOIS
In the Matter of:
Supreme Court No. M.R.28938
Commission No. 2017PR00088
STATEMENT OF CHARGES PURSUANT TO SUPREME COURT RULE 762(a)
Jerome Larkin, Administrator of the Attorney Registration and Disciplinary Commission, by his attorney, Chi (Michael) Zhang, pursuant to Supreme Court Rule 762(a), states that on the date James M. Allen (hereinafter "Movant") filed a motion requesting his name be stricken from the Roll of Attorneys, the Administrator was investigating the conduct that formed the basis for Movant's plea of guilty to the felony offense of aggravated driving under the influence ("DUI") causing great bodily harm, for which Movant was sentenced to 180 days in prison. Had Movant's conduct been the subject of a hearing, the Administrator would have introduced the evidence below, and that evidence would have clearly and convincingly established the misconduct below:
I. FACTUAL BASIS
Movant's admissions, court orders and records, and the testimony of various individuals, would establish the following facts:
1. On December 4, 2015, Movant, after consuming two drinks at the Last Stop Bar in Dixon, was driving southwest on state Route 2 when he attempted a left turn on River Road and caused a collision with a another motor vehicle that was being driven by Daniel Coers ("Coers"). The collision caused massive damage to both vehicles.
2. As a result of that collision, Coers suffered a severe ankle sprain and is required to wear a device that will be permanently attached to his ankle in order to provide stability.
3. After the accident, Respondent was taken to the hospital and submitted to a mandatory blood draw. An analysis of Movant's blood showed that he had a blood-alcohol concentration ("BAC") of 0.15%, or approximately twice this State's limit of 0.08%.
4. On September 7, 2016, following a preliminary hearing and the court's subsequent finding of probable cause, the Lee County State's Attorney's Office charged Respondent by way of information with four counts of aggravated DUI. The matter was docketed in the Fifteenth Judicial Circuit in Lee County as People of the State of Illinois v. James M. Allen, 15-CF-258.
5. On January 5, 2017, Movant entered into a plea agreement with the State and pled guilty to count one of the information, a Class 4 Felony, in violation of 625 ILCS 5/11-501(a)(2) and (d)(1)(C). On that same day, the court sentenced Movant to 180 days in county jail (with 136 days credit based on Movant's actual time in custody), 24 months of probation, fines in the amount of $2,420, and a Continuous Alcohol Monitoring ("SCRAM") device to be installed on Movant's person for a period of one year after his release from jail.
6. At the time this statement of charges was filed, Movant had been subject to two prior disciplinary proceedings: he was first suspended in 1999 for a period of nine months, with the suspension stayed in full, following his conviction of aggravated DUI for which Movant was sentenced to 24 months in prison. (see In re Allen, 96 CH 643, M.R. 16110) Movant was suspended again in 2002 for a period of 90 days for converting approximately $900 in client funds and failing to reduce a contingency fee to writing. (see In re Allen, 01 CH 25, M.R. 17930)
II. CONCLUSIONS OF MISCONDUCT
7. As a result of the conduct described above, Movant has engaged in the following misconduct:
committing a criminal act that reflects adversely on his honesty, trustworthiness, or fitness as a lawyer in other respects, by conduct including operating a vehicle while under the influence of alcohol, resulting in a motor vehicle accident and causing great bodily harm to Daniel Coers, in violation of 625 ILCS 5/11-501(a)(2) and (d)(1)(C), and in violation of Rule 8.4(b) of the Illinois Rules of Professional Conduct (2010).
Chi (Michael) Zhang