On Tuesday, January 17, 20223, the Supreme Court of Illinois allowed the Petition by the Administrator of the Attorney Registration and Disciplinary Commission to impose Discipline, resulting in the suspension of attorney Russell John Luchtenburg due to a conflict of interest and making false statements during the investigation.
The case is entitled “In the matter of John Luchtenburg”, and was brought by the Administrator of the Attorney Registration and Disciplinary Commission with case no. 031515
The charges cited Illinois Rules of Professional Conduct 1.7(a)(2), 8.1(a), 8.4(c) which state:
Engaging in a conflict of interest by representing a client when there is a significant risk that the representation of the client will be materially limited by the personal interest of the lawyer.
Knowingly making false statements of material fact in connection with a disciplinary proceeding.
Conduct involving dishonesty, fraud, deceit, or misrepresentation.
The Rules of Professional Conduct can be found here.
In the Petition by the Administrator of the Attorney Registration and Disciplinary Commission to impose Discipline, dated November 21, 2022, it was stated that Mr. John engaged in a conduct that is in conflict of interest by representing someone where there is a significant risk that his representation of that client would be materially limited by his own interest in pursuing a romantic relationship. Moreover, the respondent is alleged for making false statements during the investigation of his conduct.
The filing states:
“Shortly after S.G. retained Respondent to represent her in the dissolution of marriage proceeding, the two began exchanging frequent text messages, often sharing personal details of each other’s lives. Between August 22, 2018, and October 31, 2018, S.G. and Respondent exchanged nearly 2,000 text messages. Between August and October 31, 2028, Respondent and S.G. exchanged text messages in which Respondent told her, among other things, that he would like to “bite her ass,” that she should “get laid,” and that he loved her. In addition, Respondent shared with S.G. numerous details about his personal life.”
The filing continues:
“On November 7, 2020, the Administrator received the Respondent’s response to the request for additional information. In his response, among other things, Respondent stated the following:
My written response to the original complaint remains accurate. My statements made to ARDC on May 28, 2019, also remain accurate. . . . I have reviewed the downloaded text messages from [S.G.’s] cell phone. I find that the messages are inaccurate communications between [S.G.] and myself.
Respondent’s statements in his letter to the Administrator on February 5, 2019, as well as his statements made during his sworn testimony, and in his letter to the Administrator on November 7, 2020, were false and were made in an effort to minimize or conceal from the Administrator his conduct in relation to S.G”
In relation to other cases where the conduct is the same, the Administrator requested that, with the consent of the respondent, the appropriate sanction for Mr. John is suspension from the practice of law for 30 days. The Supreme Court adopted the recommendation in the said Petition.
The Disposition states:
“Petition by the Administrator of the Attorney Registration and Disciplinary Commission to impose discipline on consent pursuant to Supreme Court Rule 762(b). Allowed. Respondent Russell John Luchtenburg is suspended from the practice of law for thirty (30) days. Suspension effective February 7, 2023. Respondent Russell John Luchtenburg shall reimburse the Client Protection Program Trust Fund for any Client Protection payments arising from his conduct prior to the termination of the period of suspension. Order entered by the Court.”
As of today, Mr. Luchtenburg is listed on the website of Belvidere Law Firms as a practicing attorney. His info can be found on lawyer.com. John practices in Belvidere, Illinois, and is licensed in the same state, with license #6185746.
A copy of the original filing can be found here.