An Icarus moment?
Paul Bergerin, a once prominent NJ lawyer, former state and federal prosecutor and recently a criminal defense lawyer was convicted by a jury on 23 counts, including Conspiracy to Murder – a witness, and Racketeering, in the operation of his law firm. He has been sitting in jail since 2009 on the charges, had one trial declared a mistrial, and faces life in prison now.
When the lede starts “once prominent attorney” you know the Icarus paradox is involved.
H/T Tim Kalamaros
Being the Investigator gets you Suspended
David Schalk made a serious mistake, he forgot his role as a lawyer. Lawyers are not investigators, and should not make themselves witnesses, or more importantly criminal defendants. One sage said “Whatever you do, make sure the client goes to jail, and you go to lunch.”
Schalk had a client charged with possession of Meth. He apparently did not think that the confidential informant was legitimate, and was selling drugs himself. So Schalk set up a drug buy by two of his criminal defendant’s friends, plus a juvenile. Schalk provided the funds and a recorder, and told the agents that “it is all legit.”
After the “agents” successfully bought some drugs they smoked some, kept some of Schalk’s money, and gave him a folded newspaper that they said contained the drugs. Schalk tried to get law enforcement to make arrests, and so they arrested the lawyer Schalk. for Conspiracy to Possess Marijuana, and Attempt to Possess. That was not his plan.
The court found five facts in aggravation, nothing in mitigation. The opinion discusses his lack of insight into the misconduct and his attacks on the officers for being vindictive as evidence that Schalk needing disciplined. So it did the deed. Schalk got nine months without automatic reinstatement. I will explain the importance of “automatic reinstatement” in a later post.
Recent word is that Bill and Jennifer Conour’s names still grace the atrium at the McKinney Law School. According to the Indiana Lawyer story of Sept. 12, 2012 the law enforcement authorities were actively investigating the matter in December 2011. That story’s lede is “William Conour, until recently, was one of Indiana’s most respected and powerful personal injury attorneys,…” (see reference above).
I think it is time for Indiana University to figure out how to get those names off the atrium wall. Whatever it takes. IU’s new general counsel will surely do a better job to include contract terms that fit with Herman B Wells’ admonition about naming things until five years after the person’s death, or at least have a forfeiture clause if necessary. Coaches contracts should have morals/NCAA clauses as well. Good luck Jackie.