Posted Apr 13, 2012 12:19 pm CDT
A young divorce lawyer with a once-thriving practice in the Chicago suburbs has taken a plea in a federal case in which he was charged with plotting a murder for hire targeting the jealous ex-boyfriend of a former client the attorney was dating.
Overwhelmed by months of harassment by his would-be target, attorney Jason W. Smiekel wasn’t thinking clearly when he paid $8,500 last year in two installments to a federal agent last year to execute the hit, said defense lawyer Ralph Mecyzk. Smiekel pleaded guilty in federal court in Rockford, Ill., on Thursday to using a cell phone to contact the purported contract killer, reports the Chicago Tribune.
Mecyzk says he plans to use a diminished capacity argument in seeking a sentence reduction from the 10-year maximum the crime calls for. “His mind was just really scrambled at the time,” said Mecyzk of Smiekel, who he called “a nice kid and an excellent lawyer.”
ABAJournal.com: “Young Divorce Lawyer Allegedly Paid for Hit on Ex-Client, After Getting Involved With His Ex-Wife”
ABAJournal.com: “Prosecutor Says Lawyer Tried to Get One Client, Who Owed Legal Fees, to Take Contract Hit on Another”