A former McLean County prosecutor should be suspended from practicing law for 60 days for his failure to comply with state rules for licensed attorneys, according to a recent recommendation by the Illinois Attorney Registration and Disciplinary Commission.
Layne Roberts engaged in the unauthorized practice of law for seven months as an assistant McLean County state’s attorney, said the ARDC ruling issued Jan. 2. Roberts was notified numerous times starting in January 2017 that he had failed to comply with continuing education requirements for Illinois attorneys and pay a $250 late fee related to registration rules.
During the seven months he was unauthorized to work as an attorney, Roberts handled about 300 cases for the county prosecutor’s office, said ARDC complaint. He was fired in November 2017.
The ARDC dismissed Roberts’ explanations for the noncompliance as less than credible.
Roberts said stress from two situations contributed to his failure to complete the mandated education credits. His wife’s high-risk pregnancy and the birth of twins who remained in neonatal intensive care for six weeks and the alleged unwanted sexual advances by a co-worker were offered as explanations by Roberts at an Oct. 1 ARDC hearing in Springfield.
A federal lawsuit filed by Roberts against McLean County, former colleague Kristin Alferink, former State’s Attorney Jason Chambers (now a judge), and current State’s Attorney Don Knapp is pending. The suit alleges Alferink engaged in sexual misconduct during the time the two worked together as prosecutors. Alferink, now a prosecutor in Champaign County, was fired in November 2018 from her post handling sex crimes for McLean County.
In its recommendation to the Illinois Supreme Court, the ARDC found Roberts’ claim that he was stressed by the alleged sexual harassment “as yet another example of Respondent seeking to deflect responsibility away from himself and onto others, and we did not find it mitigating.”
Roberts has since addressed the deficiencies outlined in the complaint and is authorized to work as a lawyer.
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