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Jim Dey is a staff writer for The News-Gazette. His email is jdey@news-gazette.com.

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When lawyers are called on the carpet by the state’s attorney-disciplinary body, they usually are contrite with a capital “C.”

They grovel, beg for mercy, promise never to do again whatever it was they did, if only the powers that be will leave their licenses to practice law undisturbed.

But Edwin Franklin Bush III of Des Plaines is taking a different approach.

Sure, he told a judge he was the head “clown” in his “clown car” of a courtroom.

Yeah, he told one opposing counsel that she was a “lowlife bottom feeder who suborns perjury, breaks the (rules of professional conduct) and extorts your own client.”

And so what if he told another opposing lawyer that he was “child abusing filth”?

“When the justice system fails, I will have my recourse,” Bush warned the lawyer.

That’s right, Bush said — he did all that and more.

But what’s the problem?

Not only were his assertions accurate, he argues, but he also has the constitutional right to free speech to make them.

That’s a bold stance, to be sure, and not one that generally plays well with those who oversee the Illinois Attorney Registration and Disciplinary Commission.

That kind of antagonistic attitude has proved to be a ticket to professional oblivion in the past. Whether it is for Bush remains to be seen.

But no matter his level of anger or feelings that he believes justifies them, he’s clearly on shaky ground.

What kind of case produces this kind of conduct from a member of the bar?

Court watchers frequently say that emotions are most heated in family court, where divorces and child-custody cases are resolved.

That is the case with Bush, who is involved in a bitter child-custody dispute with Erika Bush.

She filed for a divorce (called a dissolution of marriage) in 2017.

Edwin Bush originally had a lawyer representing him, but he said that he decided to represent himself after spending “countless thousands of dollars” and getting nowhere.

Trouble developed once Edwin Bush became his own spokesman.

Based on a series of ARDC charges, Edwin Bush allegedly made false statements about the “qualifications and integrity of a judge”; made statements “with no substantial purpose” other than to “embarrass, delay or burden” a thirty party in the litigation; and improperly recorded meetings with court-appointed child therapists.

It’s a stew of allegations and anger.

That’s not uncommon in litigation, but it’s very uncommon when it comes to how lawyers interact with judges and other lawyers.

That’s what makes the ARDC charges and Bush’s response to them interesting.

Aberrant behavior has its downside, but there’s no question it can be interesting to observe.

Some of Edwin Bush’s more provocative pronouncements have come in written form while others have been made in open court.

He is in trouble for a Sept. 15, 2020, email sent to Judge John Carr and the various lawyers over a proposed Oct. 21, 2021, hearing date.

“Judge Carr said late September. I do not agree. This is child abuse, perpetuated by the court and its corrupt and incompetent officers,” Bush wrote in part.

He also demanded that the judge “recuse himself and apologize to me and my children.”

The ARDC characterized Bush’s language as knowingly false and made with reckless disregard for the truth.

In his answer to the ARDC, Bush said that “the excerpted statements in the email are true,” that his wife is abusing his children by denying them contact with him and that the court is abetting her behavior.

So, too, he said about the court officers being “corrupt and incompetent.”

Bush said his comment was directed, mostly, at opposing counsel but that Carr was “also corrupt and incompetent” because of an order he entered in the case.

Another charge against Bush stems from his comments during a Sept. 28, 2020, hearing when the judge was in the midst of ruling on a motion.

“See, that’s why this is the clown car. You are a clown. You’re a child abuser,” Bush said as part of an extended rift on family-court flaws.

Bush also made it clear that he doesn’t have a very high opinion of divorce lawyers.

He asserted that “domestic-relations attorneys generally graduate from third- and fourth -tier law schools and will do almost anything for money, including suborn perjury from mentally ill patients.”

As readers can tell, there’s a substantial gulf between the ARDC, which is disturbed by Bush’s conduct, and Bush, who thinks it’s appropriate under what he considers egregious circumstances.

The ARDC’s upcoming hearing on the case — something akin to a trial before a three-lawyer panel — should be a humdinger.

Jim Dey, a member of

The News-Gazette staff, can be reached at jdey@news-gazette.com or 217-393-8251.

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