Supreme Court Press Petition of the Month for July 2014: Shutting Down Inconvenient Lawyers By Disbarment or Suspension

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The Ditkowsky Petition Asks Whether a Lawyer Who Suspects Elder Abuse Can Have His Investigation Curtailed by a Bar Disciplinary Action (from Legal Printer Supreme Court Press)

Ditkowsky v. IARDC

You could sell violent videos to children, picket funerals of dead hero, falsely claim to be a Medal of Honor winner, however you could not report criminal behavior of judicial officials." - Kenneth Ditkowsky, describing the logic of the IARDC

Many lawyers take up the law for idealistic reasons - to fight for the weak, to correct injustices, and preserve the rule of law. Upholding these values requires action be taken - action that can be lauded as crusading and exemplary by some, but reckless and inconvenient by others. However, when the lawyer takes on corruption whose seed might be planted within the legal system itself, the system sometimes retaliates with a fury and the ultimate punishment for an attorney - a referral to the bar's disciplinary committee and long term suspension or disbarment.

Legal Printer Supreme Court Press has named as the Petition of the Month(TM) the case of Ditkowsky v. The Illinois Attorney Disciplinary Review Committee (IARDC), Supreme Court, Dkt. No. 13-1473, Kenneth Ditkowsky was suspended from the bar for four years due to his investigation of what he believed to be the looting and abuse of an elderly woman by a court-appointed guardian ad litem. He gathered evidence and reported it to federal authorities. As he pursued the investigation, the woman's guardian referred his zealous investigation to the IARDC which recommended and ultimately achieved Ditkowsky's bar suspension. According to the filings, the IARDC took little account of Ditkowsky's past role in ferreting out corruption, notably helping the feds uncover judicial bribe taking in the Operation Greylord scandal of thirty years ago.

The Ditkowsky petition asks the Court to consider whether a lawyer's action to protect a potential abuse victim is Constitutionally protected speech. According to the filings, Mr. Ditkowsky was investigating what he believed might be a case of elder abuse and looting. According to Mr. Ditkowsky, the elderly woman "had a safety deposit box ...this box was accessed by the guardian, the contents removed and not one item was inventoried. This box contained a large number of gold coins...the coins had a value in excess of a million dollars...the plenary guardian was insolvent prior to her appointment, yet today she exhibits all the attributes of wealth including expensive jewelry, lavish parties, expensive vacations, massive remodeling on her home etc." This case is discussed futher at the blog , which is not affiliated with the Supreme Court Press.

Mr. Ditkowsky states that according to the logic of the IARDC, "...You could sell violent videos to children, picket funerals of dead hero, falsely claim to be a Medal of Honor winner, however you could not report criminal behavior of judicial officials." In his petition, Mr. Ditkowsky argues that his work to protect the elderly woman and his reporting of his suspicions to federal authorities is protected speech under the First Amendment. Mr. Ditkowsky's comments are available in greater detail at

About the Petition of the MonthTM : The Supreme Court Press’ Petition of the MonthTM program recognizes applicants to the Supreme Court with well-written petitions for writ of certiorari that address important questions of law. We look for cases that meet the criteria of Rule 10 of the United States Supreme Court – important issues where the underlying decision is in conflict with the Supreme Court, another Court of Appeals, or the United States Constitution. If you have a pending petition that you believe is worthy of Petition of the MonthTM advice, you can email us at

Disclaimers: The Supreme Court Press does not provide legal advice. The Supreme Court Press does not endorse either party in this matter and expresses no legal opinion on any case selected as Petition of the MonthTM . The Supreme Court Press reports what Petitioners have stated, and cannot validate the statements or allegations of the Petitioner.

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