A Chicago attorney who writes a blog highlighting what she describes as Illinois’ corrupt probate system faces an ethics complaint.
The Illinois Attorney Registration and Disciplinary Commission filed the complaint against Joanne Denison, a patent and trademark attorney at Denison & Associates. The complaint, brought on January 8, asserts that Denison is undermining the administration of justice and denigrating the legal profession through her blog posts.
Denison’s posts describe the “sleazy world of probate” and the “garden variety theft, embezzlement, malpractice and malfeasance by attorneys and the court.” The blog, according to the complaint, identifies by name and initials court-appointed guardians and describes them as “tortfeasors.” The complaint was first reported by Legal Profession blog.
Denison said in a telephone interview that she has no plans to take down her blog. “Why would I shut up when there’s corruption going on in the courts?” she said.
Denison started the blog, marygsykes.com, after a Cook County, Ill., Circuit Court judge refused to allow her to serve as a guardian for Mary Sykes, according to the complaint.
The court determined that she had notarized the signatures of Sykes and Sykes’ daughter on a document bestowing a benefit to the daughter at a time when Sykes might have suffered from dementia, according to the complaint. Sykes’ daughter was Denison’s client.
The ethics commission, noting that the blog is publicly accessible, described Denison’s comments as false or made with reckless disregard for the truth. The commission alleged that Denison has violated four attorney disciplinary rules and it called for a hearing on the matter.
Representing the administrator of the Illinois Attorney Registration and Disciplinary Commission is Lea Black. She did not return a phone call seeking comment.
Attorney’s blogging prompts ethics complaint
January 31, 2013
The National Law Journal