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

In the Matter of:

MARK D. BRADLEY,

Attorney-Respondent, 

No. 3128330.

 

Commission No. 08 SH 108

FILED -  September 24, 2008

COMPLAINT

Jerome Larkin, Administrator of the Attorney Registration and Disciplinary Commission, by his attorney, Denise Church, pursuant to Supreme Court Rule 753(b), complains of Respondent, Mark D. Bradley, who was licensed to practice law in the State of Illinois on October 29, 1980, 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:

Count I
(Improper solicitation of Timothy Melvin)

1. Between 2000 and April 21, 2008, Respondent was employed as an assistant State's Attorney with the Macon County State's Attorneys' office.

2. On April 2, 2008, Timothy Melvin's ("Melvin") twelve-year old son, Zachary Melvin, was killed while he was skateboarding and hanging on to a vehicle driven by Melvin. On April 17, 2008, Melvin was arrested in connection with his son's death.

3. On April 19, 2008, Respondent went to the Macon County Jail, where Melvin was being held, and requested to speak to Melvin. After the jail personnel produced Melvin for an interview, Respondent told Melvin he was currently employed by the State's Attorney's office. Respondent represented to Melvin that he needed a "good lawyer," and Respondent offered to help Melvin find a lawyer.

4. On April 19, 2008, Respondent intended to resign as an assistant State's Attorney and was contemplating representing Melvin in connection with the criminal case involving his son's death.

5. At no time prior to April 19, 2008 did Melvin request to see Respondent, or to have Respondent represent him in the criminal case involving his son's death.

6. On April 21, 2008, Respondent tendered his resignation, in writing, to the State's Attorney's office. The resignation was effective immediately.

7. On or about April 21, 2008, Respondent again contacted Melvin about Melvin's criminal case. Melvin and Respondent agreed that Respondent would represent Melvin in the criminal case for a fee. Respondent agreed to accept payments from Melvin towards the fee.

8. On April 22, 2008, Melvin was charged by information with reckless homicide in connection with his son's death. The case was docketed as People v. Timothy Melvin, Macon County case no. 2008 CF 543.

9. On April 23, 2008, Respondent entered his appearance in case no. 2008 CF 543 as private counsel for Melvin.

10. By reason of the conduct outlined above, Respondent has engaged in the following misconduct:

  1. soliciting professional employment when a significant motive for doing so is the lawyer's pecuniary gain, in violation of Rule 7.3 of the Illinois Rules of Professional Conduct; and

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

Count II
(Improper attempted solicitation of Cornelius Jones and Dorian Harris)

1. On July 23, 2008, Benny E. Topps ("Topps") was killed in Decatur, Illinois. On July 23, 2008, Cornelius Jones ("Jones") and Dorian Harris ("Harris") were arrested in connection with Topps' death.

2. On July 26, 2008, Respondent requested to see Harris and Jones at the Macon County jail. Respondent was not permitted to see Harris nor Jones, as the Sheriff's Department had a policy of not bringing inmates to see an attorney unless the attorney represented the inmate, or the inmate wanted to see the attorney.

3. On July 28, 2008, Respondent requested to see 19 inmates at the Macon County Jail, including Harris and Jones. Neither Jones nor Harris wanted to speak with Respondent, and his request to visit Jones and Harris was denied by the jail staff.

4. On July 29, 2008, Jones was charged with six counts of murder in connection with Topps' death. The case was docketed as People v. Cornelius Jones, Macon County case no. 2008 CF 1053. On August 8, 2008, attorney Bradford Kessler entered his appearance as private counsel for Jones.

5. On July 29, 2008, Harris was charged with six counts of murder. The case was docketed as People v. Dorian Harris, Macon County case no. 2008 CF 1053. On July 29, 2008, attorney Greg Mattingly, the public defender, was appointed to represent Harris in case no. 2008 CF 1053.

6. On July 29, 2008, at approximately 1:00 p.m., Respondent met with Chief Deputy Tom Schneider ("Schneider"), of the Macon County Sheriff's office, and asked Schneider if he could see Harris and Jones.

7. Schneider informed Respondent that pursuant to the current Macon County jail policy, jail personnel had checked with Harris and Jones, and neither inmate wished to speak to Respondent.

8. Respondent represented to Schneider that he (Respondent) had just spoken to a relative of one of the suspects, and that the relative asked Respondent to represent them, without specifying which inmate's family member had purportedly asked Respondent to represent the suspects.

9. Schneider then asked Respondent the name and phone number of the relative so that he could verify the information with the inmates. Respondent represented to Schneider that he would get the information, and come back and report it to Schneider. Respondent then left Schneider's office.

10. At no time did Respondent provide to Schneider, or any other member of the Macon County Sheriff's Department, the name or phone number of the relative who purportedly asked Respondent to talk to Harris and/or Jones.

11. Later on July 29, 2008, at approximately 7:55 p.m., Respondent appeared at the Macon County Jail with a list of inmates to visit. Respondent included Jones and Harris on the list of Respondent's purported clients.

12. Lieutenant Larry Jones, of the Macon County Sheriff's Department, who was working at the jail at the time of the second request on July 29, 2008, would not produce Harris and/or Jones for a visit with Respondent, as neither inmate had requested a visit with Respondent.

13. On July 30, 2008, Respondent appeared at the Macon County jail and requested to see Harris and Jones. The Sheriff's staff would not produce Harris nor Jones for a visit with Respondent.

14. Respondent was attempting to visit with Jones and/or Harris for purposes of soliciting them as paying clients in case no. 2008 CF 1053.

15. At no time did Harris request to see Respondent.

16. At no time did Jones request to see Respondent.

17. By reason of the conduct outlined above, Respondent has engaged in the following misconduct:

  1. attempting to directly solicit professional employment when a significant motive for doing so is the lawyer's pecuniary gain, in violation of Rules 7.3 and 8.4(a)(1) of the Illinois Rules of Professional Conduct; and

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

Count III
(Improper solicitation of Jason E. Cooper)

1. On March 5, 2008, Jason E. Cooper ("Cooper") was charged by information with aggravated battery with bodily harm. The case was docketed as People v. Jason E. Cooper, Macon County case no. 2008 CF 295. Cooper was arrested and held in custody at the Macon County Jail.

2. On March 5, 2008, the Court appointed public defender Gregory Mattingly ("Mattingly") to represent Cooper in case no. 2008 CF 295.

3. On March 12, 2008, Mattingly assigned the case to assistant public defender Scott Rueter.

4. On April 21, 2008, Respondent resigned his position as an assistant State's Attorney with the Macon County State's Attorney's office.

5. On May 7, 2008 and May 9, 2008, Respondent went to the Macon County Jail and asked to meet with Cooper. Cooper agreed to meet with Respondent on one of those dates. During one of those visits, Respondent offered to represent Cooper for a fee of $3,000.00 in case no. 2008 CF 295.

6. On each occasion, Cooper refused to hire Respondent as his counsel.

7. At no time did Cooper ask Respondent to visit him, nor did Cooper ask any other person to contact Respondent on Cooper's behalf.

8. At no time did Cooper retain Respondent to represent him in case no. 2008 CF 295.

9. On June 27, 2008, Cooper pleaded guilty, and was sentenced to three years in the Illinois Department of Corrections.

10. By reason of the conduct outlined above, Respondent has engaged in the following misconduct:

  1. soliciting professional employment when a significant motive for doing so is the lawyer's pecuniary gain, in violation of Rule 7.3 of the Illinois Rules of Professional Conduct; and

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

Count IV
(Improper solicitation of Jason S. Scales)

1. On May 7, 2008, Jason S. Scales ("Scales") was charged by information with aggravated battery of a pregnant person. The case was docketed as People v. Jason S. Scales, Macon County case no. 2008 CF 620.

2. On May 8, 2008, the Court appointed the Macon County public defender Gregory Mattingly ("Mattingly") to represent Scales in case no. 2008 CF 620.

3. On May 13, 2008, Respondent went to the Macon County jail and requested to visit Scales.

4. Scales refused to meet with Respondent.

5. Respondent asked to meet with Scales for the purpose of soliciting Scales as a paying client in case no. 2008 CF 620.

6. At no time did Scales ask to see Respondent.

7. At no time did Scales intend to retain Respondent to represent him in case no. 2008 CF 620.

8. At no time did Scales ask any person to contact Respondent on Scales' behalf.

9. On May 21, 2008, Scales appeared before the Court in case no. 2008 CF 620 with his attorney, Mattingly, and pleaded guilty to domestic battery.

10. By reason of the conduct outlined above, Respondent has engaged in the following misconduct:

  1. attempting to directly solicit professional employment when a significant motive for doing so is the lawyer's pecuniary gain, in violation of Rules 7.3 and 8.4(a)(1) of the Illinois Rules of Professional Conduct; and

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

Count V
(Improper solicitation of Tyrene Green)

1. On February 20, 2008, Tyrene Green ("Green") was charged by information with domestic battery. The case was docketed as People v. Tyrene Green, Macon County case no. 2008 CM 172.

2. On July 14, 2008, Green was arrested and held in the Macon County Jail.

3. On July 15, 2008, the Court appointed the public defender's office to represent Green.

4. On July 21, 2008, Green was charged by information with obstruction of justice. The case was docketed as People v. Tyrene Green, Macon County case no. 2008 CF 1012. The Court also appointed the public defender for Green in case no. 2008 CF 1012.

5. On August 1, 2008, Respondent went to the Macon County Jail and asked to see Green. Green agreed to meet with Respondent.

6. At no time before the meeting had Green asked Respondent to meet with him.

7. During the meeting, Respondent represented to Green that he would handle the case for a fee of $2,000.00. Respondent agreed to take payments towards the fee.

8. During the August 1, 2008 meeting, Green did not agree that Respondent could represent him, however, Green did not make a final decision during that meeting.

9. After the August 1, 2008 meeting, Green decided not to retain Respondent in case no. 2008 CF 1012, and thereafter refused to meet with Respondent.

10. On August 4, 2008, August 13, 2008, August 16, 2008, August 18, 2008 and August 21, 2008, Respondent went to the Macon County jail and requested to see Green. Green refused to see Respondent on these dates.

11. By reason of the conduct outlined above, Respondent has engaged in the following misconduct:

  1. soliciting professional employment when a significant motive for doing so is the lawyer's pecuniary gain, in violation of Rule 7.3 of the Illinois Rules of Professional Conduct; and

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

Count VI
(Attempted solicitation of Cortez Gray)

1. On April 19, 2007, Cortez Gray ("Gray") was charged by information with the offense of armed robbery. The case was docketed as People v. Cortez Gray, 2007 CF 537.

2. On April 25, 2007, the Court appointed the public defender's office to represent Gray in case no. 2007 CF 537.

3. On June 4, 2007, Gray was charged by information with the offense of murder. The case was docketed as People v. Cortez Gray, 2007 CF 792.

4. On June 12, 2007, the Court appointed the public defender's office to represent Gray in case no. 2007 CF 792.

5. On August 16, 2008, Respondent went to the Macon County jail and requested to visit with 13 inmates, including Gray.

6. Gray refused to meet with Respondent.

7. On August 21, 2008, Respondent went to the Macon County jail and requested to visit with five inmates, including Gray.

8. On August 21, 2008, Gray again refused to meet with Respondent.

9. At no time had Gray asked Respondent to visit him or consider representing him.

10. Respondent attempted to meet with Gray for purposes of trying to solicit him as a paying client in cases 2007 CF 537 and/or 2007 CF 792.

11. By reason of the conduct outlined above, Respondent has engaged in the following misconduct:

  1. attempting to directly solicit professional employment when a significant motive for doing so is the lawyer's pecuniary gain, in violation of Rules 7.3 and 8.4(a)(1) of the Illinois Rules of Professional Conduct; and

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

Count VII
(Improper attempted solicitation of Jack Jason Cole, Jr.)

1. On June 7, 2008, Jane Cole was stabbed to death. On June 7, 2008, Jack Jason Cole, Jr. ("Cole"), Jane Cole's son, was arrested and charged with her homicide. The case was docketed as People v. Jack Jason Cole, Jr., Macon County case no. 2008 CF 770.

2. On June 10, 2008, the Court appointed the public defender's office to represent Cole in case no. 2008 CF 770.

3. On June 18, 2008, attorney Gregory Mattingly ("Mattingly"), the Macon County public defender, was present with Cole for a preliminary hearing before Judge James Coryell ("Judge Coryell").

4. Respondent was also present in the courtroom.

5. Judge Coryell asked Respondent whose case he was appearing on, and Respondent represented that he was there on the Cole matter.

6. Respondent then requested permission of the Court to speak to Cole.

7. Cole's attorney, Mattingly, asked Cole if he wanted to talk to Respondent and Cole stated that he did not know Respondent, and did not wish to speak to him.

8. Judge Coryell then denied Respondent's request to speak to Cole.

9. At no time did Cole request to see Respondent, and at no time was Cole contemplating hiring Respondent.

10. Respondent was attempting to speak to Cole for purposes of soliciting him as a paying client in case no. 2008 CF 770.

11. By reason of the conduct outlined above, Respondent has engaged in the following misconduct:

  1. attempting to directly solicit professional employment when a significant motive for doing so is the lawyer's pecuniary gain, in violation of Rules 7.3 and 8.4(a)(1) of the Illinois Rules of Professional Conduct; and

  2. engaging in conduct which tends to defeat the administration of justice or bring the courts or 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, and that the panel make findings of fact, conclusions of fact and law, and a recommendation for such discipline as is warranted.

Denise Church, Senior Counsel
Attorney Registration and
Disciplinary Commission
1 North Old Capitol Plaza, Suite #333
Springfield, Illinois 62701
Telephone: (217) 522-6838
Respectfully submitted,

Jerome Larkin, Administrator
Attorney Registration and
Disciplinary Commission

By:   Denise Church
Counsel for the Administrator