Belleville attorney who ran for judge could face discipline

News-DemocratNovember 22, 2013 

BND

A state attorney regulatory commission is seeking disciplinary action against a Belleville lawyer for a mailer he circulated a year ago about a circuit judge.

The Attorney Registration and Disciplinary Commission filed a complaint Nov. 8 against Ron Duebbert for allegedly circulating a mailer last year that falsely accuses current circuit judge Vincent Lopinot of negligence during the attorney's unsuccessful campaign to unseat the judge.

Duebbert could not be reached for comment at his Belleville law office on Friday.

Lopinot also could be reached for comment Friday.

According to the complaint, Duebbert circulated between 75,000 to 100,000 copies of the flier claiming that Lopinot was a public defender for murder suspect Rodney Woidtke in 1989. Woidtke spent 13 years in prison for the murder of News-Democrat intern Audrey Cardenas and sued Lopinot and public defender Brian Trentman after winning a new trial in 2001.

However, according to commission attorney Gary Rapaport, Lopinot was not involved in the Woidtke case in 1989. Commission spokesman Jim Grogan said the source of the complaint cannot be disclosed.

Grogan said Duebbert had been served the complaint Nov. 14 and has 21 days from that date to respond. Duebbert can either be adjudicated or enter a plea deal, pending a hearing board's decision. Only the Illinois Supreme Court can decide to impose sanctions against a lawyer.

Grogan said Duebbert could face disciplinary action ranging from censure to disbarment, although he said disbarment is rare result for a case like this.

According to the commission's records, Duebbert has been a licensed attorney in Illinois since 1990. The 51-year-old had has never been the subject of a public disciplinary case.

Contact reporter Will Buss at wbuss@bnd.com or 239-2526.

 

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