Legal Ethics

60-Day Suspension Suggested for State's Attorney Who Pulled Gun on Process Server

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A hearing board has recommended a 60-day suspension for an Illinois lawyer, finding that he pulled a loaded semiautomatic handgun on a process server in the parking lot of the Union County Courthouse while serving as the county’s elected state’s attorney.

Although Allen W. James claimed to have put his hand on the Kel-Tec .380 pistol in fear for his safety when approached by the unknown man on the morning of March 19, 2008, the three-member panel found that James—who had admittedly dodged service of a personal lawsuit at his office and home the previous day—either knew or had a strong suspicion that the man was a process server.

The Illinois Attorney Registration and Disciplinary Commission panel also said in its Friday opinion (PDF) that it considered James’ lack of remorse for the incident—he said he was sorry it occurred but felt he had done nothing wrong—a significant aggravating factor.

James was initially charged with two felonies following the March 19, 2008 incident but found guilty only of misdemeanor aggravated assault. He was required to pay a $1,500 fine and forfeit the pistol, but was to have his record wiped clean once he successfully completed a 12-month period of supervision.

Narrowly defeated for reelection as state’s attorney in the November 2008 election, he is now in private practice in Anna, Ill., according to the IARDC’s website.

Hat tip: Legal Profession Blog.

Related coverage:

The Southern (2004): ” ‘Novices’ Take the Reins: Allen James Sworn In as Union County State’s Attorney”

The Southern (2008): “Union County state’s attorney passes polygraphs”

Southeast Missourian (2008): “Union County state’s attorney indicted on firearms charge”

The Southern (2008): “Union County state’s attorney unseated”

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