There has been a sudden and surprising development in what this blog has colorfully referred to as attempts to sink the S.S. Jill Clark, more commonly described as the disciplinary proceedings against attorney Jill Clark and her law license. Clark--as I often remind readers who may be just coming to these blog pages--is the self-appointed "counsel for crazy town" who seemingly takes the opposite side of every North Minneapolis revitalization issue.
It was expected a major battle would shape up in a couple of weeks, with a hearing that would have attracted at least a couple mainstream media types. Jill is running for Chief Justice of the State Supreme Court, after all, on the "Behold, I Am Minnesota's State Bird" ticket.
However, today I received information from an attorney who has been watching these proceedings closely using online resources I don't usually monitor as intently as, for example, the Hennepin County Jail Roster. Yesterday, in the case of In re Petition for Disciplinary Action against Jill Eleanor Clark, etc., which is A12-0326, there was a "Referee Filing" (presumably by the Honorable Gerald J. Seibel) the title of which is "Recommendation For Transfer To Disability Inactive Status."
Help, I've Legally Fallen And Can't Legally Get Up!
I looked into this term and found...
It is a very specific legal term used in Lawyer Professional Responsibility proceedings in a number of states. According to an article in Minnesota Lawyer, May 6, 2002, titled The Rules Regarding Disability Inactive Status, "When an attorney is unable to represent clients because of a physical or mental disability or because ofa chemical addiction, the Supreme Court may place the attorney on disability inactive status pursuant to Rule 28 of the Rules on Lawyers Professional Responsibility."
The article makes clear that a lawyer can simply come forward and say, "I have a problem with alcohol and I need to voluntarily stop practicing law until I can get myself better," however, the article states this isn't USUALLY how it happens:
"Most cases involve a transfer to disability status when the attorney asserts a disability as a defense ormitigation in a disciplinary proceeding." Further, the article makes clear this disability status can occur at any point during the disciplinary proceedings:
"Sometimes the attorney does not disclose the disability until a petition for discipline has been filed. In onecase, the matter had reached referee hearing and in another the attorney petitioned for disability inactive statusafter having defaulted on the petition for disciplinary action."
When this happens, the petition for discipline doesn't just go away. Here is the process as explained by this super helpful article, written by Betty M. Shaw, whose title in 2002 was Senior Assistant Director of the Minnesota Office of Lawyers Professional Responsibility.
"When attorneys are transferred to disability status while serious allegations of misconduct are pendingagainst them, the court ordinarily stays the disciplinary proceedings during the period of disability. The courtthen orders that the allegations of misconduct be considered at the reinstatement proceeding and that arecommendation for disciplinary sanctions, if any, be made to the court at that time."
Johnny Northside Dot Com believes this development happened because Clark requested it and was not imposed upon her. There is no mention, whatsoever, in the current disciplinary proceedings of a suspected addiction or mental problem. Of course, Clark is a self-admitted alcoholic, as documented in a STrib article titled "Two Jills of a Kind." She also claims to suffer from chronic fatigue syndrome.
Chronic fatigue syndrome MIGHT BE communicable, as anybody who has been forced to deal with Clark can attest. This "disability" development seems entirely self-serving. Knowing she was likely to be suspended, the "counsel for crazy town" who spat her vitriol at judges from her "Jill Clark Speaks" blog (dead in the water for days) now might be saying, "Help me, I have a problem." It seems less like a sincere cry for help and more like a way to mitigate the likely punishment hanging over her head.
Those of us who have been watching the disciplinary proceedings closely thought Clark wouldn't be practicing law in the near future, but we didn't realize the near future would come this quickly. Clark has numerous open cases listed on MNCIS, and a number of her cases are on appeal. And with some of the cases she lost on appeal, (like the "True JACC" case I suspect she will lose on Monday) Clark probably wanted to go through the motions of filing for cert from the State Supreme Court.
And WHAT DOES THIS DO TO HER CAMPAIGN FOR STATE SUPREME COURT CHIEF JUSTICE?
WARNING!!! EXTENDED MARITIME METAPHOR AHEAD!
Johnny Northside Dot Com will be compiling and publishing a "roll call of the damned," which would be Clark clients who were aboard the S.S. Jill Clark when it suddenly, unexpectedly took on water and sank.
YES, the Clark had sustained torpedo hits, but seemed to be under full power, pumping out the bilge with all the power she could muster, firing her guns wildly though it was suspected these were BLANKS and had no ACTUAL SHELLS.
This early sinking is unexpected. Did her crew deliberately scuttle the vessel?
One thing seems certain: She has "bottomed out."
But can she be raised and refitted? Arrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrr.
Stay tuned for the "roll call of the damned."