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Chicago Lawyer Suspended for Withholding Information
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Chicago

Summary: A former city of Chicago lawyer was suspended for 90-days after being accused of withholding information in a civil case.

A former city of Chicago lawyer was suspended for 90-days by the Illinois Supreme Court. The lawyer had been accused of withholding information in a civil case from a fatal police shooting.

  
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Lawyer Jordan Marsh entered into an agreement with the Illinois Attorney Registration and Disciplinary Commission after it was determined he made a significant error after learning that a radio call involving the shooting may exist.

The Commission stated that Marsh “failed to either obtain the information, advise plaintiffs’ counsel of its existence or notify the court of the newly-discovered materials.” However, they do not believe that Marsh intentionally hid the information from the other lawyers or judge in the case. Marsh admitted that he made a mistake. He has no disciplinary history and since he is now in a private practice, he will begin his sentence next month.

Marsh’s attorney Lance Northcutt said, “Jordan Marsh is an outstanding attorney and human being who made a regrettable mistake in the midst of a hotly contested trial. It was never Jordan’s intent to deliberately conceal evidence from the court, but as he has acknowledged from the beginning, this in no way obviates the genuine regret he feels over how his decisions impacted the trajectory of this case. With this disposition, Jordan is looking forward to beginning a new chapter in an otherwise exemplary career.”

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Marsh was not disciplined by his supervisors between the time that he admitted to the existence of the radio call in court and the ruling by Chang. That was a time period of around nine months, during which served as the lead lawyer in two major civil rights trials. He resigned the day Chang ruled, allowing a new trial to the family of Darius Pinex, who was fatally shot in January 2011. The case was settled last year for $3 million, including attorney fees.

Spokesman Bill McCaffrey said, “The Law Department holds its employees to the absolute highest professional and ethical standards and does not tolerate any action that would call into question the integrity of the lawyers who serve and represent the City of Chicago.”



The commission became involved in the beginning of 2016 when U.S. District Judge Edmond Chang ruled against the city for withholding information, detailing major flaws in the way Mayor Rahm Emanuel’s Law Department handles civil rights cases. Chang noted a devious system where city attorneys don’t understand how police records are kept and don’t try to find out.

An investigation last year by the Chicago Tribune found roughly 450 cases of possible police misconduct since 2011. For every five cases, a federal judge would have to order the city to hand over evidence in one of them.

Do you think the suspension was fair? Tell us in the comments below.

To learn more about Chicago’s problems with legal and law enforcement authorities, read these articles:

Photo: commons.wikimedia.org



 

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