In the Matter of:



No. 6228970.

Commission No. 2017PR00055

FILED --- June 12, 2017



Jerome Larkin, Administrator of the Attorney Registration and Disciplinary Commission, by his attorney, Jonathan M. Wier, pursuant to Supreme Court Rules 753(b) and 761, complains of Respondent, Manuel Antonio Cardenas, who was licensed to practice law in Illinois on December 26, 1995, and alleges that Respondent has engaged in the following conduct which subjects Respondent to discipline pursuant to Supreme Court Rule 770:

(Criminal Conviction for Reckless Conduct)

1. On August 21, 2016, Respondent's 14-year old daughter and 13-year old son were visiting him. Respondent asked his daughter if she would like to go for a bike ride. When Respondent's daughter said no, he asked if she wanted to go to the movies instead. Respondent's daughter told him that she did not want to go to the movies without her brother. When Respondent's daughter asked him to take her to her mother's house, Respondent removed his belt and hit his daughter with the belt three times across her thigh causing swelling, discoloration, bruising and welts.

2. When Respondent's daughter returned to her mother's house that evening, she told her mother what had happened at her father's house. Her mother, Catherine Cardenas, filed a police report and sought medical attention for her daughter's injuries.

3. On August 29, 2016, the Cook County State's attorney charged Respondent with domestic battery, in violation of 720 ILCS 5/12-3.2. The matter was captioned The People of the State of Illinois v. Cardenas, and docketed in the Domestic Violence Division of the Circuit Court of Cook County as case number 16 DV 76970.

4. On March 13, 2017, the Honorable James Patrick Murphy presided over Respondent's bench trial in case number 16 DV 76970. Both Respondent's son and daughter testified regarding the events on August 21, 2016. Respondent also testified at his trial, and he took the position that he had the right to use corporal discipline on his children. On March 13, 2017, Judge Murphy found Respondent guilty of reckless conduct, in violation of 720 ILCS 5/12-5(a)(1).

5. Section 12-5(a)(1) of the Criminal Code provides that "[a] person commits reckless conduct when he or she, by any means lawful or unlawful, recklessly performs an act or acts that cause bodily harm to or endanger the safety of another person." Section 12-5(b) of the Criminal Code provides that reckless conduct under subdivision (a)(1) is a Class A misdemeanor.

6. On March 13, 2017, Judge Murphy sentenced Respondent to twelve months of court supervision with conditions. Along with ordering Respondent to pay certain fines, the Judge ordered Respondent to complete anger management and parenting classes within the supervision period. As of June 7, 2017, the date that the Inquiry Panel voted to file a complaint against Respondent, he had not yet enrolled in either of those classes.

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

  1. committing a criminal act that reflects adversely on the lawyer's honesty, trustworthiness or fitness as a lawyer by hitting his daughter three times with a leather belt, resulting in a conviction under 720 ILCS 5/12-5(a)(1), and in violation of Rule 8.4(b) of the Illinois Rules of Professional Conduct (2010).

WHEREFORE, the Administrator requests that this matter be referred to a panel of the Hearing Board of the Commission, that a hearing be conducted, and that the Hearing Panel make findings of fact, conclusions of fact and law, and a recommendation for such discipline as is warranted.

Jonathan M. Wier
Counsel for Administrator
One Prudential Plaza
130 East Randolph Drive, Suite 1500
Chicago, Illinois 60601-6219
Telephone: (312) 565-2600

Respectfully submitted,

Jerome Larkin, Administrator
Attorney Registration and
Disciplinary Commission

By:  Jonathan M. Wier