BEFORE THE HEARING BOARD
OF THE
ILLINOIS ATTORNEY REGISTRATION
AND
DISCIPLINARY COMMISSION

In the Matter of:

 ALLEN W. JAMES,

Attorney-Respondent, 

No.  6239218.

 

Commission No.  08 SH 105

FILED -  September 9, 2008

COMPLAINT

Jerome Larkin, Administrator of the Illinois Attorney Registration and Disciplinary Commission, by his attorney, Deborah Barnes, pursuant to Supreme Court Rule 753(b) complains of Respondent, Allen W. James, who was licensed to practice law in Illinois on May 8, 1997, and alleges that Respondent has engaged in the following conduct which tends to defeat the administration of justice or to bring the courts or the legal profession into disrepute:

Criminal conduct

1. In November 2004, Respondent was elected and subsequently duly sworn in as Union County State's Attorney. As of the date this complaint was filed, Respondent continues to serve as Union County State's Attorney.

2. On January 9, 2007, Respondent terminated the employment of Billie Henderson, an employee of the Union County State's Attorney's office.

3. On September 4, 2007, Henderson filed a civil action in the United States District Court for the Southern District of Illinois, alleging that Respondent had terminated her employment in violation of federal law. The case was docketed as Billie Henderson v. Allen James, individually and in his official capacity as Union County, Illinois State's Attorney, and The County of Union, Illinois, No. 3:07-cv-00618 (S.D. Ill.)(hereinafter, "Case. No. 3:07-cv-00618").

4. On March 18, 2008, Christopher Dees, a licensed private investigator, appeared at Respondent's office at the Union County courthouse at approximately 8:45 a.m. with a summons and a copy of the complaint in Case No. 3:07-cv-00618.

5. Dees identified himself, by name and as a process server, to Julie Mowery, who was employed as Respondent's secretary. Dees told her he was there to serve Respondent with a civil summons and complaint.

6. Mowery took the copy of the summons and complaint in Case No. 3:07-cv-00618 from Dees and walked into Respondent's office.

7. Mowery handed Respondent the summons and complaint in Case No. 3:07-cv-00618. Respondent handed the summons and complaint in Case No. 3:07-cv-00618 back to Mowery and told her to tell Dees that he could not be served in the courthouse.

8. Mowery returned to the area where Dees was waiting and returned the documents to Dees. She told Dees that Respondent had told her to tell Dees that he could not serve Respondent at the courthouse. Dees asked Mowery if he should serve Respondent at his home. Mowery responded, "I guess so," and Dees left the office.

9. Immediately after Dees left the office, Respondent telephoned his wife at home and told her not to answer the door if someone knocked.

10. After leaving the Respondent's office on the morning of May 18, 2008, Dees immediately went to Respondent's home and knocked on the door. No one answered the door.

11. At about 4:40 p.m., May 18, 2008, Dees returned to Respondent's home and saw Respondent enter the home. Dees knocked on the door, but no one came to the door. Dees waited in his vehicle in Respondent's driveway.

12. At about 5 p.m., May 18, 2008, Respondent telephoned the Anna Police Department and spoke to Danny Holdman, an Anna firefighter. He told Holdman that the driver of a vehicle in his driveway intended to serve him with a legal document and he did not want to receive the legal document. Respondent asked Holdman to ask someone from the police department to send a squad car to remove Dees from his driveway.

13. On May 18, 2008, at about 5:12 p.m., in response to Respondent's request, Anna police sergeant Kerry Ray arrived at Respondent's home and asked Dees if he would park somewhere other than the driveway. Dees moved his vehicle across the street and continued to wait in the vehicle. He left the area about ten minutes later.

14. On May 19, 2008, at about 7:40 a.m., Dees arrived at Respondent's home and saw Respondent drive away in his vehicle. Dees followed Respondent to the Union County courthouse.

15. Dees arrived at the courthouse a few minutes later and saw Respondent drive up, park his car in the courthouse parking lot, and emerge from his vehicle. Dees approached Respondent in the courthouse parking lot after he emerged from his vehicle. Dees identified himself, displayed his badge, told Respondent that he was a process server, and called Respondent by name. At this point, Respondent pulled a .380 semi-automatic handgun from his pocket and pointed it at Dees. The gun magazine was loaded.

16. As Respondent pointed the handgun at Dees, Dees identified himself once again as the man who had been at his office the day before. Respondent continued to point the gun at Dees, and Dees tossed the summons and complaint at Respondent's feet and left.

17. At the time that Dees identified himself, displayed his badge, informed Respondent that he was a process server, and called Respondent by name, Respondent knew that Dees was a process server who was trying to serve him with a complaint in Case No. 3:07-cv-00618.

18. Respondent was not authorized by state or federal law to carry a concealed weapon.

19. At all times alleged in this complaint, 720 ILCS 5/12-1 was in effect. That statute provides:

(a) A person commits an assault when, without lawful authority, he engages in conduct which places another in reasonable apprehension of receiving a battery.

20. At all times alleged in this complaint, 720 ILCS 5/12-2 was in effect. That statute provides:

(a) A person commits an aggravated assault, when, in committing an assault, he:

(1) Uses a deadly weapon or any device manufactured and designed to be substantially similar in appearance to a firearm, other than by discharging a firearm in the direction of another person.

***

(9) Or the individual assaulted is on or about a public way, public property, or public place of accommodation or amusement.

21. At all times alleged in this complaint, 720 ILCS 5/24-1 was in effect. That statute provides:

(a) A person commits the offense of unlawful use of weapons when he knowingly:

(4) Carries or possesses in any vehicle or concealed on or about his person except when on his land or in his own abode or fixed place of business any pistol, revolver, stun gun or taser or other firearm . . .

22. At all times alleged in this complaint, 720 ILCS 5/31-3 was in effect. That statute provides:

Whoever knowingly resists or obstructs the authorized service or execution of any civil or criminal process or order of any court commits a Class B misdemeanor.

23. By reason of the conduct described above, Respondent has engaged in the following misconduct:

  1. committing a criminal act that reflects adversely on the lawyer's honesty, trustworthiness or fitness as a lawyer by committing the crime of aggravated assault, in violation of 720 ILCS 5/12-2(a), in violation of Rule 8.4(a)(3) of the Illinois Rules of Professional Conduct;

  2. committing a criminal act that reflects adversely on the lawyer's honesty, trustworthiness or fitness as a lawyer by committing the crime of unlawful use of a weapon, in violation of 720 ILCS 5/24-1(a)(4), in violation of Rule 8.4(a)(3) of the Illinois Rules of Professional Conduct;

  3. committing a criminal act that reflects adversely on the lawyer's honesty, trustworthiness or fitness as a lawyer by committing the crime of obstructing service of process by pointing a gun at process server Dees, in violation of 720 ILCS 5/31-3, in violation of Rule 8.4(a)(3) of the Illinois Rules of Professional Conduct;

  4. conduct involving dishonesty, fraud, deceit or misrepresentation, in violation of Rule 8.4(a)(4) of the Illinois Rules of Professional Conduct;

  5. conduct that is prejudicial to the administration of justice, in violation of Rule 8.4(a)(5) of the Illinois Rules of Professional Conduct; and

  6. conduct which tends to defeat the administration of justice or to bring the courts or the legal profession into disrepute, in violation of Illinois Supreme Court Rule 770.

WHEREFORE, the Administrator respectfully requests that this matter be assigned to a panel of the Hearing Board, that a hearing be held, and that the panel make findings of fact, conclusions of fact and law, and a recommendation for such discipline as is warranted.

Deborah Barnes, Senior Counsel
Illinois Attorney Registration
and Disciplinary Commission
One North Old Capitol Plaza Suite 333
Springfield, Illinois 62701
Telephone: (217) 522-6838
Respectfully submitted,

Jerome Larkin, Administrator
Attorney Registration and
Disciplinary Commission

By:   Deborah Barnes
        Counsel for the Administrator