BEFORE THE HEARING BOARD

OF THE

ILLINOIS ATTORNEY REGISTRATION

AND

DISCIPLINARY COMMISSION

In the Matter of:

JAMES JOSEPH GRANEY,

Attorney-Respondent,

No. 6185544.

Commission No. 2013PR00005

FILED --- January 17, 2013

 

COMPLAINT

Jerome Larkin, Administrator of the Attorney Registration and Disciplinary Commission, by his attorney, Tracy L. Kepler, pursuant to Supreme Court Rule 753 and 761 complains of Respondent James Joseph Graney, who was licensed to practice law in Illinois on November 9, 1983, 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, and which subjects Respondent to discipline pursuant to Supreme Court Rule 770. In support, the Administrator states:

COUNT I
(Domestic Battery Conviction and Failure to Notify the Administrator)

1. On January 21, 2012, JoAnna Graney ("Graney"), Respondent's sister-in-law, confronted Respondent about his failure to pay a Florida parking citation. Respondent then yelled at Graney, began punching her in the head, threw her to the ground and continued to punch her repeatedly in the head. Respondent then fled the scene. Following the attack, Graney made a 911 call to the Plainfield Police Department, who later arrived at her home and took a report of the incident.

2. On January 25, 2012, Detective Chris Allen ("Allen") of the Plainfield Police Department, filed a criminal complaint in the Will County Circuit Court against Respondent for the offense of domestic battery, a Class A misdemeanor, in violation of 720 ILCS 5/12-3(a)(2). The clerk of the court docketed the matter as People of the State of Illinois v. James J. Graney, case number 2012 CM 271. At that same time, Allen requested that the court issue a warrant for Respondent's arrest.

3. On April 23, 2012, Respondent pled guilty in case number 2012 CM 271 to domestic battery. On that date, Judge Victoria Kennison entered a judgment of conviction and sentenced Respondent to a period of 24 months of conditional discharge and 60 days in the Will County Adult Detention Facility. As part of the sentence, Judge Kennison also ordered Respondent to obtain a psychological evaluation and comply with all its recommendations. On that same date, the Court continued case number 2012 CM 271 to June 22, 2012 for a status date, and also ordered Respondent to produce the psychological evaluation and any other documents which indicated full compliance with any treatment recommendations.

4. On June 22, 2012, Respondent appeared in court on case number 2012 CM 271, but did not produce a copy of any psychological evaluation. On that date, the court continued the matter to July 7, 2012 for Respondent's production of a psychological report. On July 7, 2012, Respondent did not appear in court on case number 2012 CM 271, and the court issued a warrant for Respondent's arrest.

5. As of December 11, 2012, the date on which the Inquiry Panel voted a complaint be filed in this matter, the arrest warrant issued for Respondent in case number 2102 CM 271 was still outstanding.

6. Supreme Court Rule 761(a) provides that it is the duty of an attorney admitted in this state who is convicted in any court of a felony or misdemeanor to notify the Administrator of the conviction in writing within thirty days of the entry of the judgment of conviction.

7. A conviction for domestic battery in violation of 720 ILCS 5/12-3(a)(2), is a Class A misdemeanor.

8. Pursuant to Supreme Court Rule 761(a), Respondent was required to notify the Administrator of his conviction in case number 2012 CM 271 on or before May 23, 2012.

9. At no time did Respondent notify the Administrator of his misdemeanor conviction in case number 2012 CM 271 as required by Supreme Court Rule 761(a).

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

  1. committing a criminal act, violation of 720 ILCS 5/12-3(a)(2), 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;

  2. failure to notify the Administrator of his conviction in writing within 30 days after the entry of the judgment of conviction, in violation of Supreme Court Rule 761(a);

  3. conduct prejudicial to the administration of justice, in violation of Rule 8.4(d) 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.

COUNT II
(Retail Theft Conviction and Failure to Notify the Administrator)

11. On April 5, 2012, Respondent entered a Dominick's grocery store in Morton Grove, Illinois, and proceeded to take various food items off the shelves, including but not limited to a 6 oz. package of M&M's candy, and eat them without paying for said items. After observing Respondent's conduct, employees of Dominick's contacted the Morton Grove Police Department, who later arrived on the scene and arrested Respondent.

12. On April 5, 2012, Officer Dion Samuel of the Morton Grove Police Department filed a misdemeanor complaint in the Cook County Circuit Court against Respondent for the offense of retail theft, a Class A misdemeanor, in violation of 720 ILCS 5/16A-3(a). The clerk of the court docketed the matter as People of the State of Illinois v. James J. Graney, case number 2012 MC2 1041.

13. On July 10, 2012, Respondent pled guilty in case number 2012 MC2 1041 to retail theft. On that same date, Judge Jeffrey Warnick entered a judgment of conviction and sentenced Respondent to serve a period of five days in the Cook County Department of Corrections and to pay a fine in the amount of $310.00.

14. As of December 11, 2012, the date on which the Inquiry Panel voted that a complaint be filed in this matter, Respondent had not paid the fine imposed against him in case number 2012 MC2 1041.

15. Supreme Court Rule 761(a) provides that it is the duty of an attorney admitted in this state who is convicted in any court of a felony or misdemeanor to notify the Administrator of the conviction in writing within thirty days of the entry of the judgment of conviction.

16. A conviction for retail theft in violation of 720 ILCS 5/16A-3(a), is a Class A misdemeanor.

17. Pursuant to Supreme Court Rule 761(a), Respondent was required to notify the Administrator of his conviction in case number 2012 MC2 1041 on or before August 9, 2012.

18. At no time did Respondent notify the Administrator of his misdemeanor conviction in case number 2012 MC2 1041 as required by Supreme Court Rule 761(a).

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

  1. committing a criminal act, violation of 720 ILCS 5/16A-3(a), 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;

  2. failure to notify the Administrator of his conviction in writing within 30 days after the entry of the judgment of conviction, in violation of Supreme Court Rule 761(a);

  3. conduct prejudicial to the administration of justice, in violation of Rule 8.4(d) 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.

COUNT III
(Cyberstalking - Carmen Jurado)

20. In 2007, Respondent and Carmen Jurado ("Jurado") began a romantic relationship through the assistance of an internet dating site. The relationship lasted several months until Jurado terminated the relationship.

21. In 2009, Respondent started emailing and calling Jurado on her cell phone in an attempt to rekindle their relationship. Jurado, and her then boyfriend, advised Respondent that his overtures were unwanted. Respondent continued to contact Jurado until Jurado changed her cell phone number.

22. In 2010, Respondent again attempted to contact Jurado to rekindle a romantic relationship with her. In addition to emails, Respondent sent Jurado money and gifts. Email communication continued sporadically between Jurado and Respondent until on or about March 21, 2011, when Jurado informed Respondent to cease all communication with her and she changed her email address.

23. At all times alleged in this count of the complaint, there was in effect a criminal statute in Illinois, 720 ILCS 12/7.5, a Class 4 felony, which provided, in part:

Cyberstalking. (a) A person commits cyberstalking when he or she engages in a course of conduct using electronic communication directed at a specific person, and he or she knows or should know that would cause a reasonable person to: (1) fear for his or her safety or the safety of a third person; or (2) suffer other emotional distress.

(a-3) A person commits cyberstalking when he or she, knowingly and without lawful justification, on at least 2 separate occasions, harasses another person through the use of electronic communication and:

  1. at any time transmits a threat of immediate or future bodily harm, sexual assault, confinement, or restraint and the threat is directed towards that person or a family member of that person, or

  2. places that person or a family member of that person in reasonable apprehension of immediate or future bodily harm, sexual assault, confinement, or restraint;

24. Between August 15, 2011 and August 25, 2011, Respondent sent the following communications, via facsimile, to Jurado at her place of employment:

Date

Content

8/15/11

"This is the last time I am asking nicely. Apologize for lying to me"

8/15/11

"Ok you asked for it. You got it"

8/16/11

"Be sure to give "Valerie" a big kiss for me lol"

8/16/11

"I filed a police report with the Miami police today. They will be in contact"

8/18/11

"In the end you turned out to be nothing more than a golddigging lying bimbo. You keep that cracker up with Viagra?? Hahahah"

 

 

8/19/11

"I need to thank you…you reminded me why things did not work out the first time around..I was blaming myself when in reality YOU ARE F******* NUTS!!!"

8/19/11

"One of these days maybe you will learn that being physically beautiful is not enough y..you need to be beautiful on the inside too./"

8/19/11

"NO WOMAN ANYWHERE EVER,…..even my ex wife has made me this angry….You really took the prize maybe that was your intent maybe it was some revenge thing I don't know….For what I have no idea. ….IF you are oblivious to the fact that you really pissed me off….you are really out of touch. YOU would have pissed off any one not just me by the way you acted"

8/20/11

"You have no idea how badly you pissed me off. I worked hard to make peace with you. Peace was all I wanted. If you had any idea how hard it is for me to bear my soul and tell you all those deep feelings I had. Very hard. The fact that you were lying to me the whole time…And then accused me of harrassement and all that BS. That was the worst betrayal of all. No woman anywhere anytime treated me that badly. It was classless."

8/23/11

"If I ever see you again-im gonna rip your bra off and stangle you with it lmao"

25. Respondent intended for Jurado to fear for her physical safety by sending his August 23, 2011 facsimile. Respondent knew or should have known that Jurado would fear for her physical safety by his August 23, 2011 facsimile.

26. Jurado feared for her physical safety as a result of the series of facsimiles Respondent sent to her at her workplace between August 15, 2011 and August 23, 2011.

27. On the morning of September 2, 2011, Jurado received a telephone call at her workplace. When Jurado answered the phone, there was no response, only breathing in the receiver. Following the call, Jurado determined that the call originated from Respondent's residence. On that same date, Jurado filed a police report regarding the actions taken by Respondent as described above.

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

  1. committing a criminal act, violation of 720 ILCS 12/7.5, 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; and

  2. conduct which tends to defeat the administration of justice or bring the courts or legal profession into disrepute.

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.

Tracy L. Kepler
Counsel for the Administrator
One Prudential Plaza
130 E. Randolph Dr., Suite 1500
Chicago, Illinois 60601
Telephone: (312) 565-2600

Respectfully submitted,

Jerome Larkin, Administrator
Attorney Registration and
Disciplinary Commission

By:  Tracy L. Kepler