BEFORE THE HEARING BOARD
ILLINOIS ATTORNEY REGISTRATION
In the Matter of:
Commission No. 07 SH 117
FILED - April 23, 2012
Jerome Larkin, Administrator of the Attorney Registration and Disciplinary Commission, by his attorney, Denise Church, pursuant to Supreme Court Rule 761(d), complains of Respondent, Gary Evan Peel, who was licensed to practice law in the State of Illinois on November 14, 1968, and alleges that Respondent has engaged in the following conduct which tends to defeat the administration of justice or which brings the courts or the legal profession into disrepute:
Criminal Conviction - Bankruptcy Fraud, Obstruction of Justice and
Possession of Child Pornography
1. In 1974, Respondent took sexually explicit pictures of the 16 year-old sister, D.R., of his then-wife, Debra Peel. Respondent retained the pictures until 2006. In November 2003, Respondent and Debra obtained a dissolution of their marriage, which judgment included property division provisions. In July 2005, Respondent filed for bankruptcy in the United States Bankruptcy Court, Southern District of Illinois, case no. 05-33238. In the bankruptcy case, Respondent sought to discharge certain obligations to Debra, under the judgment of dissolution of their marriage, and listed Debra as a creditor. Debra filed an objection in the bankruptcy case to Respondent's attempt to discharge his financial obligations to her. In January 2006, Respondent called Debra on the telephone, represented that he had had a sexual relationship with D.R., and further informed Debra that he had taken sexually explicit photographs of D.R. Respondent informed Debra if she did not abandon her challenge in the bankruptcy case and agree to a new financial settlement in their dissolution of marriage case, he would mail the pictures of D.R. to Debra's parents. Later in 2006, the Federal Bureau of Investigations retrieved copies of the pictures of D.R. from Respondent's office.
2. On March 22, 2006, a federal grand jury, sitting in the United States District Court for the Southern District of Illinois, returned a four-count criminal indictment against Respondent, arising from his conduct as alleged in Paragraph 1, above. Count One of the indictment charged that Respondent engaged in bankruptcy fraud, in violation of Title 18, United States Code, Section 152(6). Count Two of the indictment charged Respondent with obstruction of justice, in violation of Title 18, United States Code, Section 1512(c)(2). Counts Three and Four of the indictment charged Respondent with possession of child pornography, in violation of Title 18, United States Code, Section 2252A(a)(5)(B). A copy of the indictment is attached as Exhibit 1.
3. On March 23, 2007, a jury convicted Respondent of all four counts of the indictment.
4. On November 19, 2007, Respondent was sentenced to 12 years in federal prison, to be followed by three years of supervised release. On February 12, 2010, the Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals remanded the case to the District Court with directions that the district judge vacate either the bankruptcy fraud conviction or the obstruction of justice conviction, and to resentence Respondent. On August 1, 2011, the District Court vacated the conviction for obstructing justice and resentenced Respondent to the same prison sentence as previously imposed, 14 years. A copy of the Amended Judgment is attached as Exhibit 2. On February 6, 2012, the Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals affirmed the conviction.
5. By reason of the conduct set forth above, Respondent has engaged in the following misconduct:
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(a)(3) of the Illinois Rules of Professional Conduct;
conduct prejudicial to the administration of justice in violation of Rule 8.4(a)(4); and
conduct which tends to defeat the administration of justice or which brings the courts and the legal profession into disrepute in violation of Supreme Court Rule 770.
WHEREFORE, the Administrator requests that this matter be assigned to a panel of the Hearing Board, that a hearing be held, that the panel make findings of fact, conclusions of fact and law, and a recommendation of such discipline as is warranted.