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

In the Matter of:

PAUL STANLEY JOHNSON,

Attorney-Respondent, 

No. 6293075.

 

Commission No. 2011PR00102  

FILED -  August 17, 2011

COMPLAINT

Jerome Larkin, Administrator of the Attorney Registration and Disciplinary Commission, by his attorney, Wendy J. Muchman, pursuant to Supreme Court Rule 753(b), complains of Respondent Paul Stanley Johnson, who was licensed to practice law in Illinois on November 8, 2007, 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 1
(Misrepresentations on law school application)

1. On or about November 5, 2003, Respondent submitted an application for admission to the Juris Doctorate Program at the John Marshall Law School.

2. John Marshall Law School's application asked the following question of all applicants: "Have you ever, either as an adult or juvenile, been cited, arrested, charged or convicted for violation of any law including traffic violations?" Respondent answered "yes." Respondent further submitted a Statement of Explanation stating as follows:

On June 18, 1999, I was cited for a Zero Tolerance, Reckless Driving, and Disregarding Official Traffic Control Device. I was stopped for failing to make a complete stop at a stop sign, and I had a .01 BAC. My license was suspended for three months from August 03, 1999, to October 10, 1999. I pled guilty to Disrgarding Official Traffic Control Device. The other charges were dropped.

On February 23, 2001, I was issued a citation for failure to reduce speed to avoid an accident. I was involved in a minor traffic accident in which there was was minor damage to both vehicles, and no one was injured. The citation was dismissed in court.

3. Respondent's answer to the question on his application to the John Marshall Law School, as set forth in paragraph 2 above was false, and Respondent knew that it was false, as it omitted the following:

  1. a July 21, 1996, speeding citation;

  2. a January 15, 1998, ticket for disobeying a stop sign;

  3. a June 3, 1999, speeding citation;

  4. a June 15, 1999, citation for indecent conduct; and,

  5. a February 23, 2001, failure to reduce speed citation;

4. With respect to the incident on June 15, 1999, Respondent failed to disclose in his application to the John Marshall Law School that he had been using an illegal substance, gamma-Butyrolactone, commonly known as "Liquid G," at the time of that incident.

5. With respect to the incident of June 18, 1999 while Respondent did disclose the incident in his application, and acknowledged that his BAC registered .01; Respondent did not inform the Law School that he was using an illegal substance, Liquid G, at the time of that incident.

6. At the bottom of the application, Respondent was required to certify that the information he provided on the application form contained no omission, misrepresentation or concealment of any significant fact in any statement. Respondent signed the application certifying that the information was true and complete, when he knew that it was not.

7. At the time he completed the application, Respondent knew that the information he provided on the application was both false and incomplete in that he failed to set forth his violations of the law as set forth in paragraph three above, and that he did not disclose his use of Liquid G in connection with the incidents on June 15, 1999 and June 18, 1999.

8. Respondent knew that John Marshall Law School would make a decision regarding his admission based upon the information in the application, and Respondent intended to deceive or mislead John Marshall Law School by submitting the false and incomplete application.

9. Respondent was admitted to John Marshall Law School based upon his false application. At no time prior to the time he commenced his studies at John Marshall, graduated, and was certified by the Dean for admission to the Illinois Bar, did Respondent change his application to correct the false information he provided to the law school.

10. As a result of the conduct set forth above, Respondent has engaged in the following misconduct:

  1. conduct involving dishonesty, fraud, deceit, or misrepresentation in violation of Rule 8.4(a)(4) of the of the 1990 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 1990 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.

COUNT II
(Misrepresentations on application to the Illinois Bar)

11. On or about April 19, 2005, Respondent prepared and signed a character and fitness questionnaire as part of his application to the Illinois Board of Admissions to the Bar ("IBAB"), in connection with his application for admission to the Illinois Bar

12. The questionnaire asked Respondent to answer 55 questions relating to his character and fitness to practice law.

13. Question 49 of the questionnaire requested Respondent to list any traffic violation involving the use of drugs or alcohol.

14. Respondent replied "yes" to the inquiry regarding question 49. Respondent further stated:

On June 18, 1999, I was cited for a Zero Tolerance, Reckless Driving, and Disregarding Official Traffic Control Device. I was stopped for failing to make a complete stop at a stop sign and had a .01 BAC. My license was suspended for three months from August 03, 1999, to November 03, 1999. I pled guilty to Disregarding Official Traffic Control Device. The other charges were dropped.

15. Question 50 of the questionnaire further requested Respondent to provide a record of traffic cases arising during the prior seven years and not required by Question 49. Respondent stated:

During the past seven years I have had three minor traffic violations. One for failure to stop at a stop sign, one for turning on a no right turn on red, one for failure to reduce speed to avoid an accident. I am unable to recall the exact dates of the incidents nor am I able to recall anything else about them. I pulled my traffic record and there was no record of them, as for all nolle prosequi was entered.

16. Respondent's answers to Questions 49 and 50 were false, in that he omitted the following:

  1. a July 21, 1996, speeding citation;

  2. a January 15, 1998, ticket for disobeying a stop sign;

  3. a June 3, 1999, speeding citation;

  4. a June 15, 1999, citation of indecent conduct;

  5. a February 23, 2001, failure to reduce speed citation; and,

  6. April 1, 2004, disobeying a stop sign.

17. Respondent's answers to questions 49 and 50 were false because with respect to the incident on June 15, 1999, Respondent failed to disclose in his application to IBAB that he had been using an illegal substance, gamma-Butyrolactone, also commonly known as "Liquid G," at the time of that incident.

18. Respondent's answers to questions 49 and 50 were false because with respect to the incident June 18, 1999, while Respondent did disclose the incident in his application and stated that his BAC registered .01, Respondent did not inform IBAB that he was using Liquid G at the time of that incident.

19. As a juvenile, on at least 5 occasions, Respondent had been either briefly detained by the police, escorted to the police station for his parents to pick him up, or escorted home to his parents' custody by the police.

20. Question 48 of the questionnaire asked Respondent if he had "ever, including when you were a juvenile, been formally or informally detained, restrained, cited, summoned into court, taken into custody…with any offense against the law or ordinance, or accused of committing a delinquent act, other than traffic offenses set forth in response to questions 49 and 50 that follow?" Respondent answered "No."

21. Respondent's answer to Question 48 was false, because Respondent knew, as set forth in paragraph 19 above, he had been informally detained or taken into custody by police on at least five occasions.

22. In August 2004, Respondent was fired from his position as a bartender for the Colosseum Bar for pouring an excessive amount of alcohol in drinks.

23. Question 28 of Respondent's Character and Fitness questionnaire asked Respondent if he "had ever been discharged or requested, formally or informally, to resign from or terminate employment." Respondent answered "no." A supplementary form, Form 25, entitled description of non-legal employment, asked Respondent to state his reason for leaving his employment as a bartender at the Colosseum Bar. Respondent answered, "Bartending is not my forte." In fact, Respondent's answer that he had not been fired was false, and Respondent knew his answer was false, because he had been fired from the Colosseum Bar for cause.

24. Respondent's failures to advise IBAB of the incidents set forth in paragraph 5 above, as well as the role of his use of Liquid G in the incidents on June 15, 1999, and June 18, 1999, and the informal detentions by the police when he was a juvenile, were deliberate omissions, and Respondent's intention was to mislead the Committee in order to further advance his chances for admission to the Illinois Bar. Further, Respondent made a deliberate misrepresentation to IBAB in stating that he was not fired and that "bartending is not my forte" when asked his reason for leaving his employment, in order to further advance his chances for admission to the Illinois Bar.

25. Respondent subsequently mailed the questionnaire to the Committee on Character and Fitness together with the remainder of his application to the Illinois Bar. The Committee received it on or about April 19, 2005.

26. On August 9, 2007, Respondent appeared at IBAB for an in-person interview to address discrepancies discovered in his application discovered during the investigative process. At that time, Respondent was questioned regarding the incidents on June 15, 1999, June 18, 1999, and October 8, 1999. Respondent did not inform IBAB that he was using Liquid G at the time of each of those incidents. Further, Respondent did not advise IBAB that he had been fired from his bartending job.

27. On November 8, 2007, Respondent was admitted to the Illinois Bar.

28. At no time before November 8, 2007, did Respondent advise IBAB of the omissions and false statement in his application to the Illinois Bar.

29. As a result of the conduct set forth above, Respondent has engaged in the following misconduct:

  1. making a statement of fact known by the applicant to be false in his application to the Bar, in violation of Rule 8.1(a)(1) of the 1990 Illinois Rules of Professional Conduct;

  2. failing to disclose a fact necessary to correct a material misapprehension in his application to the Bar, in violation of Rule 8.1(a)(2) of the 1990 Illinois Rules of Professional Conduct;

  3. conduct involving dishonesty, fraud, deceit, or misrepresentation in violation of Rule 8.4(a)(4) of the 1990 Illinois Rules of Professional Conduct;

  4. conduct that is prejudicial to the administration of justice in violation of Rule 8.4(a)(5) of the 1990 Illinois Rules of Professional Conduct; and

  5. 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 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.


Wendy J. Muchman
Counsel for Administrator
One Prudential Plaza
130 East Randolph Drive, #1500
Chicago, Illinois 60601
Telephone: (312) 565-2600
Facsimile: (312) 565-2320
Respectfully submitted,

Jerome Larkin, Administrator
Attorney Registration and
Disciplinary Commission

By:   Wendy J. Muchman