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

In the Matter of:

 SCOTT ANDREW WINEBERG,

Attorney-Respondent, 

No.  6210428.

 

Commission No.  09 CH 115

FILED -  October 15, 2009

COMPLAINT

 Jerome Larkin, Administrator of the Attorney Registration and Disciplinary Commission, by his attorney, Scott Kozlov, pursuant to Supreme Court Rule 753(b), complains of Respondent, Scott Andrew Wineberg, who was licensed to practice law in Illinois on November 5, 1992, 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

Count I
(Dishonesty to a Police Dispatcher in the Bradley G. Matter)

1. On May 12, 2007, Bradley C., who was then 16 years old, walked into the Island Lake Police Department and told Officer Garrett Schmoeller that he had raped a woman.

2. On May 14, 2007, Bradley C. was charged in a delinquency petition in the Circuit Court of Lake County with criminal sexual assault, and the matter was docketed as Lake County case number 07 JD 370. The Lake County Public Defender was then appointed to represent Bradley C., and Respondent was assigned to handle the matter.

3. On May 24, 2007, Respondent issued a subpoena to the Island Lake Police Department (hereinafter, "ILPD") in case number 07 JD 370, demanding that they produce any evidence of video and audio surveillance related to Bradley C. Shortly thereafter, Respondent received ILPD's response to the subpoena indicating there was no video or audio surveillance related to Bradley C.

4. On June 8, 2007, Respondent went to the ILPD station at 3720 Green Leaf Avenue in Island Lake, Illinois, and approached the dispatch window. At that time, he told Kathy Vasquez (hereinafter, "Vasquez"), the dispatcher, that he was "with the State's Attorney's office" and asked her whether there was functional video or audio surveillance in the ILPD lobby. Respondent also asked about the events of May 12, 2007, when Bradley C. came to the ILPD. Vasquez told Respondent that there was no functioning video or audio surveillance in the ILPD lobby, and that he should address any questions about the Bradley C. matter to the assigned officer. Respondent then exited the ILPD.

5. Respondent's representation to Vasquez that he was with the State's Attorney's office was false, and he knew it was false. Respondent's statement to Vasquez that he was with the State's Attorney's office was intended to cause Vasquez to speak to him about matters relating to the Bradley C. case.

6. On June 8, 2007, Vasquez reported her conversation with Respondent to Officer John Nikopoulos (hereinafter, "Officer Nikopoulos"), who recorded the license plate number of Respondent's vehicle as he departed the ILPD. Shortly thereafter, Officer Nikopoulos contacted the Lake County State's Attorney's office and determined that Respondent was an Assistant Public Defender and did not work for the State's Attorney's office.

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

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

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

Count II
(Dishonesty to a State Investigator in the Jaden G. Matter)

7. On March 26, 2009, Jaden G. was taken into protective custody by the Illinois Department of Children and Family Services (hereinafter, "DCFS") after his three-year-old brother suffered a chest trauma while in the custody of his parents, William G. and Angelita G. A case was then docketed in the Circuit Court of Lake County entitled In the Interest of Jaden G., case number 09 JA 41.

8. On or about March 26, 2009, the Lake County Public Defender was appointed to represent William and Angelita G., the parents of Jaden G., and Respondent, as the supervisor of the Juvenile Division of the Public Defender's office, was assigned to handle that matter. At that time, the Lake County Public Defender was also appointed to represent Jaden G., as attorney and guardian ad litem, and Assistant Public Defenders Barbara Hayward (hereinafter, "Hayward") and Kathy Gordon (hereinafter, "Gordon") were assigned to handle that matter.

9. On April 6, 2009, in relation to case number 09 JA 41, Respondent contacted DCFS child protective investigator Becky Quinn (hereinafter, "Quinn"). At that time, Respondent identified himself as an Assistant State's Attorney and asked Quinn a series of questions about the medical records for Jaden's brother.

10. Respondent's representation to Quinn that he was an Assistant State's Attorney was false, and he knew it was false. Respondent's statement to Quinn that he was an Assistant State's Attorney was intended to cause Quinn to speak to him about matters relating to case number 09 JA 41 that she would not otherwise have discussed with him.

11. On April 7, 2009, Quinn discovered Respondent's actual identity when communicating with Hayward about case number 09 JA 41. Quinn then informed Assistant State's Attorney Lisa LeBoeuf (hereinafter, "LeBoeuf") about her conversation with Respondent, and LeBoeuf wrote to the Administrator about the incident.

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

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

  2. conduct that is prejudicial to the administration of justice, in

  3. violation of Rule 8.4(a)(5) of the Illinois Rules of Professional Conduct; and

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

Count III
(Unauthorized Copying of Documents in the Jaden G. Matter)

14. The Administrator realleges paragraphs eight through 12 of Count II, above.

15. Since the Lake County Public Defender represents both parents and children in abuse and neglect proceedings, and the attorneys work in a shared office space using the same office equipment and the same support staff, to protect confidential information, it maintains a policy of keeping information obtained by attorneys representing the parents separate from information obtained by those attorneys acting as guardians ad litem.

16. On April 8, 2009, at some time prior to 5:00 p.m., Hayward received from LeBoeuf three pages of medical records from the Children's Hospital in Milwaukee relating to the hospitalization of Jaden G.'s brother. Hayward placed the documents on the copy machine in the Public Defender's office, prepared copies (which she removed from the copier), and inadvertently left the original documents on the copier.

17. On April 8, 2009, at approximately 5:00 p.m., Respondent found on the copier at the Public Defender's office the three pages of medical records from the Children's Hospital in Milwaukee relating to the brother of Jaden G. At that time, Respondent copied the documents that he found on the copier and placed the copies that he had made in his own file related to case number 09 JA 41.

18. At the time when Respondent copied the medical records that he found on the copier, he had not spoken to Hayward or Gordon about the documents or obtained any authorization to copy those documents.

19. At no time prior to copying the medical records that he found of the copier had Respondent spoken to Joy Gossman, the Lake County Public Defender about whether he could copy those documents, nor had he conducted any research as to his right to keep those documents.

20. On April 9, 2009, Gordon went to Respondent's office and asked him why he had copied the medical records without authorization, and Respondent sarcastically responded to Gordon "shame on me." Respondent also told Gordon at that time to "go ahead and report me to the Attorney Registration and Disciplinary Commission."

21. On April 9, 2009, Respondent informed Gossman about Respondent's copying of the medical records that Hayward inadvertently left on the copier in relation to case number 09 JA 41, and about her conversation with Respondent as referenced in paragraph 20, above.

22. On April 20, 2009, Gossman met with Respondent to discuss his copying of the medical records. At that time, Respondent acknowledged copying the documents from the copier and said that he would repeat the conduct if he found documents on the copier in future. Gossman then demoted Respondent (removing him as a supervisor), suspended him for a week without pay, placed him on probation for six months, transferred him to the felony division in Waukegan, and instructed him not to have further involvement with case number 09 JA 41.

23. Shortly thereafter, Respondent went to the Lake County Public Defender's Juvenile Division office in Vernon Hills, obtained the Public Defender's file from case number 09 JA 41, and removed documents from the file, including copies of motions that he had filed in the matter.

24. In May 2009, after Gossman learned that Respondent had gone to the Juvenile Division, pulled the file from case number 09 JA 41, and removed documents from that file, she terminated Respondent's employment with the Lake County Public Defender's office.

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

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

  2. 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

  3. conduct which tends to defeat the administration of justice or to bring the courts or the legal profession into disrepute, in violation of 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.

Scott Kozlov
Senior Counsel for the Administrator
One Prudential Plaza
130 East Randolph Drive, #1500
Chicago, Illinois 60601
(312) 565-2600
Respectfully submitted,

Jerome Larkin, Administrator
Attorney Registration and
Disciplinary Commission

By:   Scott Kozlov