Five months’ suspension is what has been recommended for an Illinois lawyer charged with posting a video of an undercover drug buy on YouTube and improperly suggesting it was the police planting drugs.
The Illinois hearing board recommended that Jesse Raymond Gilsdorf be suspended.
The Legal Profession Blog notes as follows: The charges of misconduct arose out of the Respondent knowingly posting on an Internet site, and showing to others, a DVD video he received from the state’s attorney while representing a criminal defendant. The video showed the undercover drug transaction between Respondent’s client and a confidential police source. The Respondent entitled the video “Cops and Task Force Planting Drugs,” which was false. By posting the video while his client’s criminal case was pending, Respondent intended to persuade residents of the county that the police or other government officials acted improperly in the prosecution of his client.
The Hearing Board found that the Respondent engaged in the misconduct charged in both counts. Specifically, he revealed information relating to the representation of a client without the informed consent of his client and without the disclosure being impliedly authorized in order to carry out the representation; failed to reasonably consult with the client about the means by which the client’s objectives are to be accomplished); made extrajudicial statements that the lawyer reasonably knows will be disseminated by means of public communication and would pose a serious and imminent threat to the fairness of an adjudicative proceeding; engaged in conduct prejudicial to the administration of justice; and engaged in conduct which tends to defeat the administration of justice or to bring the courts or the legal profession into disrepute.
Gilsdorf’s client testified she wasn’t aware in advance that her lawyer had posted the video, but after he did so she posted it to other social media websites. “I guess I was instructed by my attorney to do so,” she said. “I mean, I wasn’t sure how it was going to help me, but I guess that’s why you hire an attorney because they know the law.” She also reviewed the video on big-screen TV and accepted the plea offer, obtaining a sentence of probation.