Lawyer's license suspended
A Jacksonville attorney's law license has been suspended for six months because of his actions defending two Champaign County men.
The Attorney Registration & Disciplinary Commission of the Supreme Court of Illinois this week announced it was suspending the license of attorney G. Ronald Kesinger of Jacksonville for six months.
The suspension takes effect on Feb. 8.
"There's nothing really to comment on," Kesinger told The News-Gazette this week.
The suspension is the result of Kesinger's actions in two different cases in Champaign County.
According to commission documents, Kesinger revealed confidential information told to him by his client, Juvon Mays of Rantoul, to the lead prosecutor in a criminal case, Champaign County Assistant States Attorney Duke Harris.
Mays, who lived in an apartment at the Maplewood complex in the 1400 block of Hobson Drive, Rantoul, had been accused of fatally shooting Corinthian Spinks in his apartment across the hall around 9:30 a.m. Dec. 20, 2008.
Mr. Spinks died of a single gunshot wound to the chest.
On Aug. 25, 2009, during a meeting between Kesinger and Mays at the county jail, Mays told Kesinger his account of what happened during the morning of the shooting.
The documents say Kesinger sent a letter to Harris on Aug. 26, 2009, without Mays' knowledge or permission, telling Harris information Mays had told Kesinger in the jail.
Then, on Aug. 31, 2009, Harris filed additional counts against Mays.
On Sept. 4, 2009, the jury found Mays guilty of home invasion and first-degree murder.
On Oct. 16, 2009, Judge Tom Difanis sentenced Mays to 60 years in prison.
Mays, who is currently at the Stateville Correctional Center, has a court appearance set for Feb. 20 in connection with his appeal of the conviction.
The second case involved Kesinger's defense of Lance Bufford, who was arrested for cocaine possession in Rantoul on Jan. 29, 2008.
On Feb. 8, 2008, persons on Bufford's behalf posted $10,000 for a bail bond, and Bufford hired Kesinger to represent him for $5,000.
According to commission documents, Kesinger sent a letter to Bufford on March 21, 2008, saying that Kesinger would receive his $5,000 fee from the refund of Bufford's bail bond, with Bufford receiving anything more than $5,000.
But on Feb. 19, 2009, Kesinger sent a letter to Bufford demanding Bufford pay him not just the $5,000, but the entire bond refund before he would proceed with the case.
Bufford told Kesinger he was refusing to pay Kesinger anything more than $5,000.
Kesinger then withdrew from the case, and attorney LeRoy Cross Jr. took over defending Bufford.
After Judge Harry Clem dismissed the case on Jan. 4, 2010, on the motion of the state's attorney's office, the circuit court clerk's office sent a bail bond refund check for $9,000 (the original $10,000 minus $1,000 bail bond costs) to Kesinger.
The commission documents say Kesinger initially tried to keep the entire $9,000.
After a disciplinary investigation into Kesinger's actions began, Kesinger issued a $4,000 refund to Bufford.
This week the commission said that Kesinger "breached his fiduciary duty" to Bufford in an attempt to obtain a larger fee for himself.