Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Judge Steve Lile Disbarred

Three years ago, Steve Lile went from being one of the state's top judges to just another attorney because of a sex scandal at the state Capitol.

This morning, the state Supreme Court decided Lile couldn't even be an attorney any more.

Justices disbarred Lile, 60, "from the practice of law" because of the seriousness of his misconduct while a judge on the Oklahoma Court of Criminal Appeals.

The Supreme Court agreed he had committed multiple violations of the standards of conduct including actions that "undermined public confidence in the integrity of the judicial system."

Lile declined comment today. Last year, he said at a disciplinary hearing, "I was plain stupid. I wasn't thinking straight."

Lile resigned in 2005 from the Oklahoma Court of Criminal Appeals.

The Supreme Court found Lile had submitted false travel claims and false expense claims while a judge. He also had involved himself improperly in his son's drug cases and after an administrative assistant, Dawn Lukasik, was arrested in December 2004 for an alleged drug violation.

The assistant was not charged at the time.

Lile's troubles began after he hired Lukasik, a former lover, as his administrative assistant at the court at a time when his own marriage was failing. He said last year he discovered from her that they had a son together and the son, Loran Michael Wilson, was having drug problems.

She was 18 when their son was born. Lile was married and then 37.

The Supreme Court said he traveled at taxpayers' expense from June 24 to Oct 29, 2004, almost on a weekly basis to see his incarcerated son or to take care of legal and other issues involving his son.

"On some of the trips he was accompanied by Dawn Lukasik," the Supreme Court wrote. "He filed travel claims seeking reimbursement for these personal trips, claiming he attended project conferences, projects or meetings of the Regimented Inmate Discipline (RID) Program offered by the Department of Corrections. But there were no RID project conferences, projects or meetings on the dates for which he filed travel claims."

The Supreme Court said the false expenses claims were for purchases made by Lukasik, who was remodeling his office, and her daughter. "Some of those claims were for personal items unrelated to the remodeling," the Supreme Court said.

Before quitting as a judge, Lile reimbursed the state $1,523.64 for the travel and $1,560.43 for the "office" purchases made by Lukasik, or her daughter.

Lile was investigated by the state attorney general but not charged.

Lukasik was charged three times in 2005 on offenses related to methamphetamine and she admitted she had a drug problem. She eventually went to prison.

Lile represented Lukasik in the drug cases and married her when she was released from prison, records show.

Prosecutors Want Arrest Warrant for Officer Jay Olsen


Prosecutors are asking a superior court judge to issue an arrest warrant for a suspended Spokane police officer.

Officer Jay Olsen has failed to comply with the conditions of his release and prosecutors want his $25,0000 bond revoked.

Olsen has failed to remain in contact with his attorney and is now missing.

Olsen is suspended and is scheduled to stand trial in November on charges of first degree assault and reckless endangerment.

Detectives say on February 26, 2007 Olsen was legally drunk at the time he chased Shonto Pete, a man he accused of stealing his car. Pete was later acquitted of auto theft.

A judge will make a decision about the warrant on Thursday.

Controversial Case Says Democrat Alvarez Helped Cover Up Charges

The controversial case of a Chicago police officer involved in a fatal crash on Thanksgiving became an issue in the Cook County state's attorney race Tuesday after Republican candidate Tony Peraica accused his rival of being part of the initial decision to seek lesser charges.

But Democrat Anita Alvarez quickly rebuffed the claim, saying she started her leave of absence from the office more than a month before the crash and wasn't involved in the case. A state's attorney spokesman confirmed that Alvarez hasn't had any official duties with the office since Oct. 15.

Alvarez's campaign suggested Peraica's unfounded accusation is evidence he's not fit to run the county's chief legal office, where decisions are made on when to seek the death penalty, what crimes to prosecute and who gets plea deals.

"He's demonstrated a willingness to mislead and distort the truth," Sally Daly, Alvarez's spokeswoman, said of Peraica. "In an office where decisions involve life and death . . . this does reflect upon his judgment."

Peraica admitted he based his allegation on secondhand information from a "senior member" of the state's attorney's office whom he declined to name.

"Since I wasn't in the room, I can't personally confirm or deny that Ms. Alvarez was there or not, but that's what I was told and I trust the person that informed me," Peraica said.

The flap surfaced during the first public debate between the candidates at the Union League Club of Chicago. Alvarez, a top assistant state's attorney, and Peraica, a county commissioner from Riverside, are vying Nov. 4 to succeed retiring State's Atty. Richard Devine, a Democrat.

At issue is the case of John Ardelean, a Chicago police officer who was charged in November with a misdemeanor count of drunken driving after a crash that killed Miguel Flores, 22 and Erick Lagunas, 21, both of Cicero.

Videotape from the River North nightclub where Ardelean was drinking after work shows him downing three beers and four shots in a little more than two hours. Ardelean declined to take a sobriety or Breathalyzer test until almost eight hours after the crash, when he was ordered to by a superior.

Charges against Ardelean later were upgraded to two felony counts of aggravated driving under the influence, but the case was dismissed in February after a judge ruled there wasn't enough evidence.

Family members of the men who were killed were outraged, and citing new videotaped evidence, the state's attorney's office reopened the case last month.

Peraica said his source claimed Alvarez sat in on a meeting where the decision was made to seek lesser charges against Ardelean. Alvarez said her involvement in the case was limited to meeting with the families of the men who were killed after they contacted her.

Officer Dannie Marchan Kills Family then Himself

Off-duty Chicago Police Officer Dannie Marchan, 29, committed suicide Monday morning by turning his gun on himself after fatally shooting his young daughter Alizay, and grievously wounding his 9-year-old son.

The horrific incident was discovered Monday when neighbors near Dannie Marchan's Southwest Side Chicago house reported a series of gunshots coming from inside the house. Police arriving on the scene heard the sounds of an injured person within the one-story home and forced their way inside, where they found Marchan lying dead from an apparently self-inflicted gunshot wound to the head and his two children in another room, both also suffering from gunshot wounds to the head. Marchan was officially pronounced dead at the scene at 12:22 p.m., while the children were transported to Chicago's Mt. Sinai Hospital, where 7-year-old Alizay Marchan was pronounced dead at 11:52 a.m. Monday and where the son (whose name has not been released) remains in critical condition.

Police stated they believed the incident was related to upheavals in Marchan's domestic life; people who knew Marchan said he was depressed over his 2005 divorce from the children's mother. Marchard and the mother shared custody of his two childen, according to court records; while Marchard's former spouse was not at the house at the time of the shootings she later arrived at Mt. Sinai Hospital to be with the children.