Drew Peterson Lawyer in Trouble

John Paul Carroll

John Paul Carroll

Peterson attorney faces discipline
2007 murder trial focus of agency complaint

September 2, 2009

By JOE HOSEY jhosey@scn1.com
A member of Drew Peterson’s legal team is in trouble with the Attorney Registration and Disciplinary Committee for allegedly holding out on his clients in a murder case after prosecutors offered them a plea deal.

The Aug. 20 complaint accuses attorney John Paul Carroll of violating the rules of professional conduct by failing to reveal the plea deal until after his two clients were convicted on all charges.

Carroll was representing brothers Jaime and Edgar Castro in a 2007 Kane County murder case. The Castros were charged with killing Julio Gurrola, who attempted to steal a pound of marijuana from them at gunpoint.

According to reports, Gurrola pulled a gun during a drug deal with the Castros. But Edgar Castro allegedly beat Gurrola to the punch, drawing his own pistol and firing.

During the ensuing shootout, Gurrola was killed and Edgar Castro was wounded.

The Castros were charged with first-degree murder, armed violence, concealment of a homicidal death and possession of cannabis with intent to deliver.

A prosecutor offered to allow the Castros to plead to a single count each of armed violence in exchange for a 15-year prison sentence, according to the complaint, but Carroll failed to relay the deal. A jury later found them guilty on all counts.

Carroll claims he forgot to mention the prosecutor’s offer to the Castros but then remembered after his clients were convicted. He says he was conflicted about what to do and realized he might be punished if he came clean about the plea.

“I know if I don’t say anything, nobody knows,” Carroll said. “I say to myself, ‘Do I beef myself off?’”

New trial
Carroll did just this, he said, informing the Castros of the plea offer and admitting to the court he neglected to do so before the trial.
According to the complaint, he filed a motion for a new trial on the grounds he “had not informed (the Castros) of the state’s plea offer and had ‘merely rejected the offer out of hand.’”

Circuit Court Judge Timothy Sheldon appointed a new attorney for the Castros and allowed them to take the original plea deal for 15 years. If judge had not done so, Carroll said, Edgar Castro would have been sentenced to 45 years and Jaime Castro would have gotten 35 years.

“I said to myself, ‘I’ll be dead and they’ll still be in prison,’” Carroll said of his decision to reveal the plea deal.

Carroll appeared in court to represent Peterson in Dec. 2007 when the accused wife-killer was seeking the return of his guns and vehicles from the state police.

After Peterson’s May arrest on murder charges in connection with the death of his third wife, Kathleen Savio, another of his attorneys, Joel Brodsky, said Carroll would be joining the defense team for this case as well. Carroll has yet to file his appearance.

Brodsky, who ran into trouble of his own with the ARDC in 2004 when his law license was suspended for three months for signing a dead man’s name in order to cash a $23,000 check, failed to return calls for comment.

Carroll, a former Chicago police detective and Cook County assistant state’s attorney, said he is cooperating with the ARDC but does not know what the organization plans to do with him.

“Maybe they’ll drum me out of the corps,” he said.

Read the story at heraldnewsonline.com

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58 thoughts on “Drew Peterson Lawyer in Trouble

  1. Okay, only a 3 month suspension for signing a deadman’s name to a $23,000 check???? My son got more for doing donuts on school property.

    How can attorney “forget” to tell his clients there has been a plea offer?? Sounds to me like he wanted to see what jury had to say first, then when it was what it was he could fall back on the “ooops, my bad, I forgot. I’ll get in trouble what do I do.” Smells like BS to me.

  2. IIRC Joel was able to convince them that he forged the signature on the check in order to protect the money for the client, who was behind bars. Even if that’s the case, he intentionally committed an act of fraud. I don’t particularly care what his intent was.

  3. The client wasn’t even one of Joel’s, but a partner in a firm they had just dissolved. Somehow he ended up with the file, but didn’t pass it to the man’s actual lawyer. He just thought he’d keep the money……. safe…. in cash…. JB said he gave it back to the bank in exactly the same notes that he’d received it. The bank employee remembered it quite differently

  4. I like thiis bit from Joel’s disciplinary hearing:

    “During the time Respondent held the funds in his home, without the knowledge or consent of any representative of the estate, the estate was deprived of the use of those funds. Moreover, the funds were in jeopardy of being lost to the estate in the event of Respondent’s death because he did not maintain adequate documentation of the ownership of the funds nor did he provide any record of his transaction to the estate file, to his former partner or to the bank. In essence, funds that belonged to the client were turned into funds to which Respondent had sole access and which he could use freely without the client’s knowledge or approval. This is conversion of funds.

  5. Asked what makes him proud professionally, Brodsky said: “When I’m able to protect people who are innocent and charged with a crime.”

    He paused to reconsider his answer.

    “Innocence is a strange word,” he continued. “People who the government can’t prove did the crime, or did something bad or committed an offense, and they take them to trial anyway and I win. That’s my proudest accomplishment.”

    http://www.wtop.com/?nid=104&sid=1306461

  6. “Innocence is a strange word,” he continued. “People who the government can’t prove did the crime, or did something bad or committed an offense, and they take them to trial anyway and I win. That’s my proudest accomplishment.”

    Yeah, facs, do I ever remember that quote of Brodsky.

    If the law didn’t take someone to trial who “committed an offense,” or “did something bad,” where would guys like Brodsky be, and when would they relish in their proud moments?

    Oh, never mind. I guess they’d be cheating families out of their inheritances in probate court.

  7. The stink coming from these lawyers in court will surely overshadow any misgivings they want to bestow on any of the witnesses against Peterson.

    See. Point that finger, and look how many come pointed back at you.

    Heh.

  8. I’d forgotten about that. Maybe he had to blow off the plea deal because he’d already decided to bill tons more hours than that.

  9. I do agree with one sentence from his site that he [...]brings a unique perspective to the courtroom[..] as a former homicide detective, an undercover narcotoc officer and a prosecutor. I found this section particularly chilling: This experience brings a tremendous advantage to those under the cloud of a serious criminal accusation, a situation where the outcome can change your life and drastically affect your future.
    I wonder if he had adviced Drew how not be caught.

  10. Oh, this is too funny! NBC sure does use colorful words in their stories!

    ******
    Oops! One of Drew’s Attorneys Forgets Plea Deal

    By BJ LUTZ
    Updated 3:15 PM CDT, Wed, Sep 2, 2009

    Talk about lowering the bar.

    In 2004, an Illinois disciplinary board suspended the law license for three months of Drew Peterson’s attorney, Drew Brodsky, after he signed a dead man’s name to close the inactive bank account of a client’s estate, public records show. Brodsky signed the dead man’s name again to cash a $23,000 check from that account.

    Three years later, Peterson hired Brodsky.

    Fast-forward five years, and another attorney on Peterson’s legal team is also facing discipline for reportedly forgetting to tell his clients — who in 2007 were charged with first-degree murder, armed violence, concealment of a homicidal death and possession of cannabis with intent to deliver — about a plea deal prosecutors had offered. A jury found found the clients, brothers Jaime and Edgar Castro, guilty on all counts.

    John Paul Carroll later remembered the offer and came forward after his conscience got the best of him.

    “I said to myself, ‘I’ll be dead and they’ll still be in prison,’” Carroll told the Herald News of his decision to reveal the plea deal.

    A circuit court judge ultimately allowed the Castro brothers to take the original plea deal after Carroll motioned for a new trial.

    Carroll said he’s working with the Attorney Registration and Disciplinary Committee but said he doesn’t know what they’ll do with him.

    http://www.nbcchicago.com/news/local-beat/drew-peterson-legal-team-problems-56739232.html

  11. i just hope Blobsky sees it BEFORE it gets corrected. Remember the old publicists’ mantra, “It doesn’t matter what they say as long as they GET YOUR NAME RIGHT.”

    hehehehehehe

  12. This is serious bad news for Brodders. I don’t think the details of his disciplinary matter has been aired by the likes of NBC before. He must be fit to be tied!

  13. This is a repost from March 24, 2009, courtesy of Cyrhla:

    March 24, 2009 at 3:15 pm | #7

    Cyrhla says…..

    See what I have found on John Paul Carroll today(sorry again for taking so much space)

    http://www.treasurer.il.gov/news/in-the-news/2008/SLPD20October2008.htm

    Lawyer’s new case spurs new outrage

    Defense lawyer John Paul Carroll’s big spending on a single capital murder case sparked reform of the way Illinois pays for its death penalty system. Yet three years later, the state has put Carroll back in the death penalty business.

    An Illinois judge appointed Carroll this summer to defend a death penalty case — just one day after Carroll admitted making a serious legal error in another murder case.

    “I’m appalled by it,” said Rep. Kurt Granberg, D-Carlyle, when told about Carroll’s appointment. “People like this should not be allowed to come in here and cheat the taxpayers.”

    Carroll’s appointment to the latest case means he can once again tap into the Illinois Capital Litigation Fund. The Illinois Legislature attempted to reform the fund in 2005 after Carroll’s defense of Cecil Sutherland cost the state $2 million, including $900,000 in legal fees.

    At the time, one legislator called for the attorney general to investigate Carroll’s billing. Furious lawmakers established new rules for the death penalty fund. Now judges in each case must preapprove hourly rates and defense attorneys’ estimated budgets for the entire case.

    But a Post-Dispatch investigation published Sept. 28 found the fund is still being abused by lawyers, private investigators and expert witnesses, who charge steep fees to drive, make copies and send e-mails. One private investigator was allowed to bill 49 hours for one day, while a ballistics expert was allowed to charge $300-an-hour just to drive to Belleville from Indiana.

    The state requires lawyers who handle death-penalty cases to be specially approved by the Supreme Court as a “safeguard of the fairness and accuracy of capital trials” to ensure “competence, professionalism and integrity of the attorneys who try those cases,” according to the court’s website.

    In the 1990s, Carroll’s law license was suspended for 18 months. A disciplinary commission found that Carroll filed false income tax returns over three years, gave improper accounting to a client, and charged an excessive fee.

    Despite that suspension and Carroll’s history with the death-penalty fund, the Illinois Supreme Court again certified Carroll last year to handle death penalty cases. The court has refused to give the Post-Dispatch a copy of Carroll’s application for certification, saying it is an “internal working document.”

    In June, Kane County Circuit Judge Timothy Sheldon appointed Carroll to defend Darren Denson, who is accused of shooting and stabbing a man to death.

    According to court records, the appointment came one day after Carroll filed a motion for a new trial in another murder case — with a surprising admission. Carroll said he hadn’t told his client, Edgar Castro, that the state had offered an attractive plea deal before Castro stood trial. The state, according to Carroll’s motion, had offered to allow Castro to plead guilty to a lesser charge of armed violence in exchange for dropping the murder charge.

    “The defense counsel did not convey this overture to the defendant, which he would have accepted, but merely rejected the offer out-of-hand,” Carroll wrote.

    Castro was convicted of first-degree murder. A judge is deciding whether to grant a new trial.

    Carroll couldn’t be reached for comment.

    “This is a very serious situation,” said Steven Beckett, professor and director of trial advocacy at University of Illinois’ law school. “An attorney has a duty to convey any and all offers from the state to their client. It’s fundamental to our judicial system.”

    Sheldon said he appointed Carroll after two other lawyers dropped out of the case, and only because Carroll had a prior relationship with the defendant. Sheldon also was the judge in the Castro case.

    “My heart just skipped a beat,” Sheldon said on Tuesday when informed by the Post-Dispatch of Carroll’s history with the death penalty fund. “I had heard about a lawyer who billed $2 million for a case, but I had no idea whatsoever it was our local John Paul Carroll.”

    In that case in 2004, Carroll defended convicted child killer Cecil Sutherland. Sutherland agreed to let a St. Clair County court sentence him to death. The theory was, in part, to put Sutherland’s case on a fast track to automatic review by the Illinois Supreme Court, which had already sided with him on an earlier appeal.

    The appeal was denied, and Sutherland is now on death row. Carroll billed more than $2 million for Sutherland’s defense, prompting outrage from legislators. Among the bills, Carroll charged $135.68 an hour for the time it took to pack his van at his former home in Minnesota and drive to Illinois. (He now has a law office in DuPage County, Ill.)

    [...]

    Kati Phillips, a Giannoulias spokeswoman, said of the recent Post-Dispatch findings: “John Paul Carroll) is the poster boy for capital litigation abuse. Despite the changes to the law that he prompted … there is still potential for abuse. Frankly, it would be embarrassing to the state and the legal system if an attorney emptied the fund twice due to lack of oversight.”

    Meanwhile, Granberg, the state representative, says he is going to talk to Attorney General Lisa Madigan’s office, again, about investigating billings of the fund. St. Clair County Circuit Judge Milton Wharton has also called for an investigation into the billings of the Jason Smith death penalty case tried earlier this year in Belleville.

    Granberg said he wants to set up a system that would bar Carroll and others with “questionable billing” in their background from tapping the fund in the future.

    “I’m not giving up on this,” he said.

  14. cyrhla :

    facsmiley :

    …Drew Peterson’s attorney, Drew Brodsky…

    I guess they are going to fix that…

    Why?

    LOL I haven’t noticed the mistake. I just looked at the surname. Sorry for my stupid question, facs. LOL.

  15. Salient points from the link above

    On several occasions between February 15, 2008 and May 12, 2008, ASA LoPiccolo and ASA Alice Tracy reiterated the State’s February 15 offer in conversations with Respondent.

    10. As of May 12, 2008, the opening day of jury selection for the Castros’ trial, Respondent had not advised Jaime or Edgar Castro of the State’s offers, described in paragraphs nine and ten, above. On that date, ASAs LoPiccolo and Tracy met with Respondent and asked him whether he had conveyed the State’s plea offer to the Castros. In response, Respondent stated that he had done so and that the Castros had refused the offer and were confident that they would prevail at trial.

    11. Respondent’s statement described in paragraph 10, above, was false. At no time had Respondent informed either Jaime or Edgar Castro of the State’s plea offer.

    So anyone reckon he just forgot the offer and several reiterations? Wasn’t reminded when asked forthrightly on May 12th 2008?

    * * * * *

    rescueapet :
    Candrew Badudsky.

    ROFL

  16. Maybe he has a really poor memory and smacking himself in the palm-to-forehead gesture (d’oh) more often than most accounts for his unusually shaped skull. Sometimes he even forgets he’s holding a brick at the same time.

  17. I think this must be why he hasn’t actually applied to represent Drew in front of Judge White …yet, as a refusal may offend.

  18. Carroll claims he forgot to mention the prosecutor’s offer to the Castros but then remembered after his clients were convicted.

    LOL. Yeah, it’s good to remember the deal offered by the prosecution after your clients are convicted.
    :roll:

    And I was thinking Carroll might be the best of the bunch of idiots Drew has defending him!

  19. :D
    I can just hear Drew: John, is there anything you may have forgotten to tell me? Maybe something the States Attorney said to you? The jury is about to deliberate!

    Then again, JPC wouldn’t be likely to make the same mistake twice. And he did end up admitting his mistake on his own.

    It still makes me LOL.

  20. This guys plays risky games and knows how to take advantage of the system. I wonder how much he was paid that it is an equivalent for being deprived of his license.

  21. cyrhla :[Saturday, 22 November 2008 9:41PM] “Carroll said a complaint was filed against him for failure to notify his clients of the plea deal, but was later dismissed.”

    That complaint may have been dismissed, but he’s obviously not off the hook!

  22. facsmiley :

    cyrhla :[Saturday, 22 November 2008 9:41PM] “Carroll said a complaint was filed against him for failure to notify his clients of the plea deal, but was later dismissed.”

    That complaint may have been dismissed, but he’s obviously not off the hook!

    I know, facs. I just found it a little strange that it had been dismissed in 2008 just after annoucing the sentence and it is back now, after a year.

  23. cyrhla :

    facsmiley :

    cyrhla :[Saturday, 22 November 2008 9:41PM] “Carroll said a complaint was filed against him for failure to notify his clients of the plea deal, but was later dismissed.”

    That complaint may have been dismissed, but he’s obviously not off the hook!

    I know, facs. I just found it a little strange that it had been dismissed in 2008 just after annoucing the sentence and it is back now, after a year.

    Absolutely. Agreed!

  24. ~snipped~
    Jerome Larkin, Administrator of the Attorney Registration and Disciplinary Commission, by his attorney Robert J. Verrando, pursuant to Supreme Court Rule 753(b) complains of Respondent John Paul Carroll, …

    I looked up SC Rule 753(b)

    (b) Filing a Complaint. A complaint voted by the Inquiry Board shall be prepared by the Administrator and filed with the Hearing Board. The complaint shall reasonably inform the attorney of the acts of misconduct he is alleged to have committed.

    http://www.state.il.us/court/SupremeCourt/Rules/Art_VII/artVII.htm#Rule753

    I wonder if the complaint was dismissed because they got their plea deal after all. Is it never really over for a lawyer if the Inquiry Board votes to reopen?

  25. Capital Punishment Reform Study Committee
    Minutes of October 22 2008 Meeting
    See Page 30 – 33 regarding John Paul Carroll

    http://www.icjia.state.il.us/Public/pdf/dpsrc/Full%20CPRSC%20minutes%20October%2022%202008.pdf

    http://www.iardc.org/rd_database/disc_decisions_list.asp

    Attorney Effective Date Document Type Disposition
    Carroll, John Paul 8/20/2009 Complaint Not Applicable(see Complaint below)
    Carroll, John Paul 9/23/1994 Supreme Court Order Suspension for a specified period
    Carroll, John Paul 4/11/1994 Review Board Suspension for a specified period
    Carroll, John Paul 7/23/1993 Hearing Board Suspension for a specified period

    BEFORE THE HEARING BOARD
    OF THE
    ILLINOIS ATTORNEY REGISTRATION
    AND
    DISCIPLINARY COMMISSION
    In the Matter of:
    JOHN PAUL CARROLL,
    Attorney-Respondent,
    No. 401579.
    Commission No. 09 CH 78
    FILED – August 20, 2009

    COMPLAINT

    [snipped]
    16. By reason of the conduct described above, Respondent has engaged in the following misconduct:
    a. failing to keep a client reasonably informed about the status of a matter in violation of Rule 1.4(a) of the Illinois Rules of Professional Conduct;
    b. failing to explain a matter to the extent reasonably necessary to permit the client to make informed decisions regarding the representation in violation of Rule 1.4(b);
    c. conduct involving dishonesty, fraud, deceit or misrepresentation in violation of Rule 8.4(a)(4);
    d. conduct that is prejudicial to the administration of justice, in violation of Rule 8.4(a)(5); and
    e. conduct which tends to defeat the administration of justice or to bring the courts or the legal profession into disrepute in violation of Supreme Court Rule 770.

    WHEREFORE, the Administrator requests that this matter be assigned to a panel of the Hearing Board, that the panel make findings of fact, conclusions of fact and law, and a recommendation for such discipline as is warranted.

    Respectfully submitted,
    Jerome Larkin, Administrator
    Attorney Registration and
    Disciplinary Commission

    By: Robert J. Verrando
    Counsel for the Administrator
    130 East Randolph Drive, Suite #1500
    Chicago, Illinois 60601
    Telephone: 312-565-2600

  26. Hi everyone

    I came across this link from Drew’s wikipaedia entry.
    from wiki:
    “Peterson also has made guest appearances (including one from prison) on radio station WLS with Mancow Muller.[38] After the appearance on WLS, Will County Judge Stephen White severely limited Peterson’s access to the media. Peterson circumvented that access by going online, creating a Twitter account, connecting with the media.[39]”
    ref 39 is:

    http://www.cruisebruise.com/Blog/2009/June_2009/June_5_2009.html

    This fella says Drew’s making money from his Twitter account. Anyone know anything about this?

  27. Hey Bucket, That twitter account has been around for a long time (pre Drew’s arrest) and in no way do I believe it is connected to Drew. It’s some opportunist using Drew’s name to get people to follow their tweets. If you look at the tweets, each one contains a link to some commercial site. It’s a scam, but I don’t believe it’s actually related to Drew in any way. For heaven’s sake, how does this person think Drew goes online from jail?

    http://twitter.com/drewpeterson10

    I guess there’s always a possibility that the account could belong to someone who has some connection to him, but for some reason I just really doubt it. I liken it to the way Angelina Jolie’s face is used in those lip plumping ads. I doubt that she’s getting any money from them.

  28. PETERSON DREW W 10 2 9 402 930 09CF001048 0 MURDER/INTENT TO 2 Hearing
    PETERSON DREW W 10 2 9 402 930 09CF001048 0 MURDER/INTENT TO 1 Hearing
    PETERSON DREW W 9 14 9 402 930 09CF001048 0 MURDER/INTENT TO 1 Motions
    PETERSON DREW W 9 14 9 402 930 09CF001048 0 MURDER/INTENT TO 2 Motions

  29. Heres another, hope its not continued again.

    ROBINSON MICHAEL 9 14 9 900 09SC008604 Return Date
    ROBINSON MICHAEL 9 23 9 900 04F 000340 Present
    ROBINSON MICHAEL 9 25 9 404 930 08CF000098 0 INTIMIDATION/PHYSICAL 1 Jury Trial
    ROBINSON MICHAEL 9 25 9 404 930 08CF000098 0 BATTERY/CAUSE BODILY 3 Jury Trial
    ROBINSON MICHAEL 9 25 9 404 930 08CF000098 0 DOMESTIC BTRY/PHYSICAL 2 Jury Trial

  30. This is also from the same Will County Circuit Court Schedule/ ‘P’

    PETERSON KITTY 10 15 9 WCCA 930 07CH002743 Status

    NEW CENTURY 10 15 9 WCCA 930 07CH002743 Status
    NONRECORD CLAIMANTS 10 15 9 WCCA 930 07CH002743 Status
    UNKNOWN OWNERS 10 15 9 WCCA 930 07CH002743 Status
    DEUTSCHE BANK 10 15 9 WCCA 930 07CH002743 Status
    MORGAN STANLEY ABS 10 15 9 WCCA 930 07CH002743 Status
    RIEGEL JAMES R 10 15 9 930 WCCA DEUTSCHE BANK 07CH002743 MFC

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