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Proviso Probe

Monday, January 23, 2006

KLEPT, splitting hairs to cover for a disbarred attorney [Recorder]

The Attorney Registration and Discipline Commission is responsible for disciplining unethical attorneys. The ARDC is under the Illinois Supreme Court.

In my opinion (IMO), the ARDC has been too lenient with attorneys.

The following is from an ARDC letter closing a complaint against attorneys at the Recorder of Deeds office. Eugene "Gene" Moore, the Proviso Township Democratic Committeeman, is Cook County Recorder of Deeds.
In August 2005, you wrote us, alleging that Askia Abdullah (who had been disbarred by the Illinois Supreme Court in 1996) may have engaged in the unauthorized practice of law while working at the Cook County Recorder of Deeds.

[Askia Abdullah] said… that he does not interpret any laws, FMLA or otherwise, for the Recorder of Deeds’ office. He stated that, as the FMLA coordinator, he reviews personnel requests for leave under FMLA and assists in the determining whether applicants qualify for leave….

I have not been trained as an attorney, but I do know English passably. Is the term “interpret” a legal term of art with specific meaning separate from the way the word is used in laymen’s English?

If not, the ARDC isn’t even splitting hairs. There is no difference between interpreting the law and determining if the law applies.

So I decided to write a letter to Mary Robinson, the "administrator" of the ARDC.
I have noticed a pattern of the ARDC being inappropriately lenient in how it handles complaints against attorneys. I am collecting examples of this so I can make the case for the Illinois legislature to enact some system to audit the ARDC.

I request you explain a distinction made by Scott Kozlov, whom you have authorized to evaluate complaints against attorneys.

Kozlov wrote a response to four complaints that hinges on there being a distinction between “interpreting the law” and “determining whether the law applies”.

I’m not an attorney, so perhaps “interpret the law” is a term of art that has specific meaning separate from the way laymen use the words. But if not, it seems clear that Kozlov acted inappropriately when he closed the following complaints: No. 05 CI 3925-8.

I eagerly await your explanation of the difference between “interpreting the law” and “determining whether the law applies”. If there is no distinction, I request you explain what corrective action you have taken for the ARDC’s errors in these cases.

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