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Legal Ethics

Lawyer Admits Stealing Case File, Got Law License Despite Prior Bomb-Threat Charge

Posted Jan 30, 2012 7:00 AM CDT
By Debra Cassens Weiss

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A Massachusetts lawyer told a judge last Thursday that he should have heeded the advice of the state Board of Bar Examiners, which had warned him not to start a solo practice because of the stress it entailed.

The board issued a law license for the lawyer, Ilya Ablavsky, even though he had a prior record that included charges of making bomb threats while a student at Brandeis University in 1999, the Salem News reports. On Thursday, Ablavsky pleaded guilty to a charge of tampering with a court record for stealing a court file in a murder case.

Ablavsky said he has bipolar and post-traumatic stress disorders and suffers from anxiety. He told a judge he’s not sure why he stole the file. The defendant was not a client, though Ablavsky knew his family. Ablavsky took the file from the Salem clerk’s office in November 2010, a few months after he obtained his law license.

The defendant’s lawyer reported he got a call from Ablavsky, who said he had shredded the file in the belief it would save the defendant from prosecution.

Ablavsky received a two-year sentence, all of which was suspended except for the 64 days he has already spent in jail. He will now serve two years on probation.

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