Criminal Justice

Divorce Lawyer Takes Plea, Admits Contract Hit Plot re Ex-Boyfriend of Ex-Client He Was Dating

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.”

Earlier coverage: “Young Divorce Lawyer Allegedly Paid for Hit on Ex-Client, After Getting Involved With His Ex-Wife” “Prosecutor Says Lawyer Tried to Get One Client, Who Owed Legal Fees, to Take Contract Hit on Another”

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