BEFORE THE HEARING BOARD
ILLINOIS ATTORNEY REGISTRATION
In the Matter of:
Commission No. 2011PR00028
FILED - April 18, 2011
Jerome Larkin, Administrator of the Attorney Registration and Disciplinary Commission, by his attorney, Peter L. Rotskoff, pursuant to Supreme Court Rule 753(b), complains of Respondent, Scott Anthony Margherio, who was licensed to practice law in Illinois on June 3, 2009, 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:
(Direct criminal contempt for appearing in court under the influence of alcohol)
1. At approximately 9:00 a.m., on October 1, 2010, Respondent appeared in the circuit court of Hardin County, Illinois, with the intention of entering his appearance for a defendant in a criminal case.
2. When Respondent entered the courtroom, he smelled of alcohol. While waiting for the defendant's case to be called, Respondent slept at counsel table and then staggered when called to the bench by the presiding judge, the Honorable Paul Lamar.
3. Judge Lamar questioned Respondent about his alcohol use and Respondent denied using alcohol that morning. Respondent agreed to submit to a Breath Alcohol Content ("BAC") test, which showed a breath alcohol content of .06.
4. Judge Lamar subsequently held a contempt hearing and found Respondent in direct criminal contempt. The judge sentenced Respondent to be held in the Hardin County jail until Monday, October 4, 2010, at 10:00 a.m. The judge subsequently modified the contempt order to allow Respondent to be released on Sunday, October 3, 2010, at 4:00 p.m.
5. By reason of the conduct described above, Respondent has engaged in the following misconduct:
conduct that is prejudicial to the administration of justice in violation of Rule 8.4(d) of the Illinois Rules of Professional Conduct (2010);
conduct which tends to defeat the administration of justice or bring the courts or legal profession into disrepute, in violation of Supreme Court Rule 770; and
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(b) of the Illinois Rules of Professional Conduct.
(Failure to disclose 2008 DUI to the Illinois Board of Admissions to the Bar)
6. On January 7, 2004, Respondent submitted a Character and Fitness Registration Application ("Application") to the Illinois Board of Admissions to the Bar ("IBAB"), in connection with his application for admission to the Illinois Bar.
7. As a result of an investigation by IBAB and Respondent's failure to disclose various matters on his character and fitness application, including honors code violations at the University of Kentucky Law School and certain arrests, Respondent's application for admission pended before IBAB until May, 2009.
8. In the Application, Respondent signed an agreement to fully and frankly answer all questions and he agreed that he understood the following statement:
Do you understand that the execution of this document constitutes a representation that you will immediately disclose to the Board of Admissions to the Bar and the Character and Fitness Committee circumstances and events occurring after the date of submission of this document which may bear on your character and fitness?
9. On May 24, 2006, and again on June 3, 2006, Respondent was arrested for Driving Under the Influence ("DUI") in Massac County, Illinois. One of the charges was dismissed and Respondent plead guilty to the other charge and received court supervision. Respondent did not supplement his Application with information about the 2006 DUI charges, but he disclosed them to an IBAB Inquiry Panel during a meeting with the Panel.
10. On September 23, 2008, Respondent was arrested in Massac County, Illinois, and charged with DUI. People v. Margherio, 08 DT 141, Massac County, Illinois.
11. On December 2, 2008, Respondent submitted an additional "Character and Fitness Questionnaire" to IBAB. Respondent did not disclose the 2008 DUI arrest on the additional questionnaire.
12. On March 5, 2009, Respondent entered a plea of guilty to the DUI charge in case no. 08 DT 141, and the Court sentenced him to 24 months probation with conditions and fines.
13. At no time did Respondent disclose to IBAB his 2008 arrest for DUI or the resulting plea and sentence in case no. 08 DT 141. Respondent knew or should have known that the 2008 arrest and conviction bore upon his fitness.
14. In May 2009, the Committee on Character and Fitness of the 5th Judicial District, voted to certify Respondent's application for admission.
15. On June 3, 2009, Respondent was admitted to practice law in Illinois.
16. By reason of the conduct described above, Respondent has engaged in the following misconduct:
in connection with an application for admission to the bar, failure to disclose a fact necessary to correct a material misapprehension known by that person to have arisen in the matter, in violation of Rule 8.1(a)(2) of the Illinois Rules of Professional Conduct (1990);
conduct involving dishonesty, fraud, deceit or misrepresentation, in violation of Rule 8.4(a)(4) of the Illinois Rules of Professional Conduct (1990);
conduct prejudicial to the administration of justice, in violation of Rule 8.4(a)(5) of the Illinois Rules of Professional Conduct (1990);
as a law student registrant, failure to update and report fully and completely all information required to be disclosed to the Board of Admissions to the Bar and the Committee on Character and Fitness, in violation of Supreme Court Rule 708(e); and
conduct which tends to defeat the administration of justice or bring the courts or legal profession into disrepute, in violation of Supreme 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.
Attorney Registration and
One North Old Capitol Plaza Suite 333
Springfield, Illinois 62701
Telephone: (217) 522-6838