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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