What was he thinking?

February 17, 2011
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A Marion, Ill., attorney was indicted Wednesday in U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Indiana for attempting to provide heroin to a federal inmate in the Federal Correctional Complex in Terre Haute.

Robert A. Drew, 68, was arrested in August 2010 after authorities learned an attorney was allegedly bringing drugs into the prison. Law enforcement officials stopped Drew’s car when he entered the prison’s parking lot and found a green leafy substance in his car. Drew also produced a package that was taped on his body that contained a substance that later tested positive for the presence of heroin.

Drew faces a maximum of 20 years in prison and a $250,000 fine. His initial hearing will be scheduled before a U.S. Magistrate Judge in Terre Haute.

I’m always shocked when I read about attorneys blatantly breaking the law. As those who are paid to know the law, when they break it, it’s surprising. Repeatedly smuggling drugs into a federal prison? That’s a dumb move bound to get caught, especially when there are signs up at the prison warning that you and all your belongings are subject to search. It’s also surprising he was able to get away with it several times before he was caught.

According to court documents, Drew said he got the drugs from a package delivered via Federal Express or U.S. Mail. I found an old news article dating to when he was arrested in which he told police he snuck the drugs into the prison because he and his family had been threatened.

I also found a more recent news article in which Drew was shot this January at an Illinois casino. Details were scant on this incident. This guy is not having a good year.

Another article said he was a former county judge and a defense attorney in southern Illinois at the time of his arrest. According to the Attorney Registration & Disciplinary Commission of the Supreme Court of Illinois, Drew was admitted to practice in 1977 in Illinois and is listed as voluntarily retired and not authorized to practice law. No date was given as to when that status took effect, but it did happen within the last 365 days. The ARDC also says that Drew has no public record of discipline or pending proceedings.

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  • Hope he wasn't framed.
    One thing that hit me when reading that story was the fear expressed by several criminal defense attorneys as to how easy it would be for the jailors to frame them for "smuggling" drugs into the jail during jail visits, by simply claiming to have "found" drugs in their briefcase. It certainly isn't beyond the realm of possibility that, especially in smaller jurisdictions, good defense attorneys who make life difficult for law enforcement could find themselves targeted for a little retribution.

    But, at least with what's described here, it seems like this guy wasn't framed.

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  1. I have dealt with more than a few I-465 moat-protected government attorneys and even judges who just cannot seem to wrap their heads around the core of this 800 year old document. I guess monarchial privileges and powers corrupt still ..... from an academic website on this fantastic "treaty" between the King and the people ... "Enduring Principles of Liberty Magna Carta was written by a group of 13th-century barons to protect their rights and property against a tyrannical king. There are two principles expressed in Magna Carta that resonate to this day: "No freeman shall be taken, imprisoned, disseised, outlawed, banished, or in any way destroyed, nor will We proceed against or prosecute him, except by the lawful judgment of his peers or by the law of the land." "To no one will We sell, to no one will We deny or delay, right or justice." Inspiration for Americans During the American Revolution, Magna Carta served to inspire and justify action in liberty’s defense. The colonists believed they were entitled to the same rights as Englishmen, rights guaranteed in Magna Carta. They embedded those rights into the laws of their states and later into the Constitution and Bill of Rights. The Fifth Amendment to the Constitution ("no person shall . . . be deprived of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law.") is a direct descendent of Magna Carta's guarantee of proceedings according to the "law of the land." http://www.archives.gov/exhibits/featured_documents/magna_carta/

  2. I'm not sure what's more depressing: the fact that people would pay $35,000 per year to attend an unaccredited law school, or the fact that the same people "are hanging in there and willing to follow the dean’s lead in going forward" after the same school fails to gain accreditation, rendering their $70,000 and counting education worthless. Maybe it's a good thing these people can't sit for the bar.

  3. Such is not uncommon on law school startups. Students and faculty should tap Bruce Green, city attorney of Lufkin, Texas. He led a group of studnets and faculty and sued the ABA as a law student. He knows the ropes, has advised other law school startups. Very astute and principled attorney of unpopular clients, at least in his past, before Lufkin tapped him to run their show.

  4. Not that having the appellate records on Odyssey won't be welcome or useful, but I would rather they first bring in the stray counties that aren't yet connected on the trial court level.

  5. Aristotle said 350 bc: "The most hated sort, and with the greatest reason, is usury, which makes a gain out of money itself, and not from the natural object of it. For money was intended to be used in exchange, but not to increase at interest. And this term interest, which means the birth of money from money, is applied to the breeding of money because the offspring resembles the parent. Wherefore of an modes of getting wealth this is the most unnatural.

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