Illinois Supreme Court disciplines 30 attorneys; including former and current public officials

By Bethany Krajelis | May 19, 2014

The Illinois Supreme Court on Friday disciplined more than two dozen attorneys, including a trio of former public officials and one sitting alderman.

The Illinois Supreme Court on Friday disciplined more than two dozen attorneys, including a trio of former public officials and one sitting alderman.

Of the 30 attorneys who received high court discipline, 10 were disbarred, 16 were suspended and four were censured.

The three one-time public officials slapped with discipline are Michael N. Cook, a former St. Clair County judge; Joseph Mario Moreno, a former Cook County commissioner; and Timothy John Huyett, Marion County’s former public defender who also served a stint as Logan County’s prosecutor.

Cook and Moreno were both convicted on federal charges and disbarred on consent, which means they agreed to the punishment by asking for their names to be removed from the state’s roster of attorneys. Six of the court's 10 disbarments were entered on consent.

Huyett was suspended from the practice of law for 60 days. The Illinois Attorney Registration and Disciplinary Commission accused him of engaging in sexual relations with a client and then lying about it.

The justices also censured Samuel J. Cahnman, an alderman on Springfield’s City Council. His censure – the lowest form of high court discipline –stems from an ARDC complaint that alleges he misled a judge about how ended up with a page of the judge’s personal calendar book.

Cook’s disbarment comes on the heels of his federal convictions for heroin and weapon possession.

He stepped down from the downstate bench shortly after being charged and following an investigation into the death of St. Clair County Associate Judge Joseph Christ, who died from cocaine intoxication last year at a hunting cabin owned by Cook’s family.

Cook pleaded guilty to the charges, went to rehab and in March, was given a 24-month prison sentence. He was given 60 days to report to prison and ordered to pay $75,708 in fines and assessments. .

Like Cook, Moreno, a former Cook County commissioner, was disbarred on consent. His discipline stems from his federal conviction for conspiring to commit extortion, which included seeking kickbacks from vendors and taking bribes.

He pleaded guilty and in February, was sentenced to a 132-month prison sentence and ordered to forfeit $100,000 and pay more than $130,000 in restitution.  In addition, Moreno, misreported income from his law office on tax forms, according to the ARDC.

Among the other disciplinary orders, the Supreme Court suspended Chicago attorney ‘Lanre O. Amu for three years.

The ARDC accused Amu of making false statements about the integrity of several Cook County judges he appeared before in his representation of different clients.

Amu claimed the judges were corrupt by fixing cases and engaged in racial bias. He also unsuccessfully sued another judge in 2012 for defamation, saying the judge called him a “flim flam attorney.”

A full list of the attorneys who were disciplined by the Supreme Court last week can be found on the ARDC's website by clicking here.

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