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Chicago attorney reprimanded over conduct during basketball game

By Bethany Krajelis | Oct 11, 2013

The Illinois Attorney Registration and Disciplinary Commission (IARDC) reprimanded a Chicago lawyer this week for pushing and kicking a teen during a pick-up basketball game.

While attorney Frank Joseph Himel’s misconduct brought the legal profession into disrepute, a panel of the ARDC Hearing Board determined that it was “not so serious to warrant a sanction that would affect the lawyer’s authority to continue to practice law.”

A reprimand is the only type of attorney discipline that can be handed down by the ARDC’s hearing and review boards. The Illinois Supreme Court must impose all other forms of discipline.

The hearing board noted that while the reprimand won’t formally be presented to the Supreme Court, “it is not to be taken lightly” and will remain on file with the ARDC as it could be admitted into evidence if disciplinary proceedings are brought against Himel in the future.

Himel’s Oct. 8 reprimand stems from a June 2012 complaint the ARDC brought over an incident that took place a year earlier.

According to the joint stipulation of facts, Himel got into an argument with 17-year-old Daniel Etman over a foul call during a pick-up basketball game at Highland Park Recreational Center.

When the two approached each other, Himel pushed Etman in the chest and kicked him.

The incident spurred the Lake County State’s Attorney’s Office to charge Himel with three counts of misdemeanor battery.

A judge found Himel guilty on two counts of battery and sentenced him to 12 months of supervision with conditions that included attending an anger management class and not having contact with Etman.

Himel’s supervision was terminated earlier this year and no judgment of conviction was entered against him.

According to the ARDC, there was no finding by the judge at Himel’s trial that he had caused bodily harm to Etman. The hearing board also notes that he “expressed remorse for his conduct and promptly complied” with the conditions of his supervision.

Himel, who has never previously been disciplined, entered into a stipulation with the ARDC over the facts of his case.

Considering his expression of remorse and his cooperation with the ARDC, the panel of the hearing board wrote that it “agrees with the Administrator and Respondent that based upon the uncontested facts described in the stipulation, a reprimand is the appropriate discipline herein.”

Both parties, according to the ARDC, have waived the 21-period for filing exceptions with the Review Board.

Sharon D. Opryszek served as counsel for the ARDC and Chicago attorney Robert A. Merrick Jr. represented Himel in the disciplinary proceeding.

Chicago attorney Sang-yul Lee served as chairman of the Hearing Board panel, which was rounded out by Tony J. Masciopinto, a Chicago attorney, and David A. Dattilo, a non-lawyer member of the board.

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