Former Union County State’s Attorney Allen W. James has been suspended for 60 days after pulling a gun on a process server after dodging prior service. Christopher Dees reported that he identified himself to James who proceeded to point his 380 semi-automatic handgun at him while trying to serve a complaint upon him. James insisted that he did nothing wrong, though he later pleaded guilty to a misdemeanor aggravated assault over the incident.
The Illinois Attorney Registration and Disciplinary Commission panel gave an account of the underlying facts:
After the Respondent arrived home from work on the evening of March 18, 2008, someone came to the front door, but the Respondent did not go to the door. (Tr. 25-26). The Respondent saw a dark green over gray van parked in his driveway, behind the Respondent’s truck. (Tr. 123-24). He called the Anna Police Department and spoke with the dispatcher, Danny Holdman. The Respondent identified himself and stated that he knew the police were busy because of heavy rain and flooding. He asked that, if “somebody has time,” could an officer asked the driver to move the van in the driveway because the Respondent was going to be leaving. He also mentioned to the dispatcher that the person parked in his driveway was the process server who had gone to his office earlier. The Respondent acknowledged that he did not want to cooperate with the process server. The Respondent never saw the process server that evening. (Tr. 27, 124-25).
On the following day, March 19, 2008, the Respondent left for work at 7:25 a.m., and drove to the courthouse parking lot. (Tr. 28, 128). He parked at the “lower end” of the lot. It was raining “pretty good” and, when he got out of his truck, he opened a golf umbrella. He walked up the hill toward the side door of the courthouse, which was between 120 and 150 feet away. (Tr. 129-30, 254). While he was walking, he had his head down and was thinking about his upcoming murder trial. (Tr. 131). He heard a noise behind him, turned, and saw a van come into the parking lot. The van “came speeding up the parking lot,” went past the Respondent, and pulled into a parking space ahead of him. (Tr. 132). He said this was not the same van that was parked in his driveway the night before. (Tr. 123-24). The Respondent saw a man get out of the van and “come running” or “trotting” toward the Respondent “fairly quickly.” (Tr. 133, 254). At first, the Respondent thought the man was a “meth cook” named Rusty Smith. But, when the man got closer, Respondent knew it was not Smith. (Tr. 133, 136). The man had his left hand under a fleece he was wearing. (Tr. 133). The Respondent’s hand was in a pocket where his gun was located. He pulled the gun out, and said “stay back, I don’t know who are.” (Tr. 134-35). The Respondent denied that he pointed his gun at the man, but said the gun was “pointed in his direction.” (Tr. 137, 156-57). The man kept coming toward the Respondent, and pulled out something that looked like a wallet. He flung open the wallet, showed the Respondent a “white card with red across the top,” and said he was a process server. (Tr. 134-35, 137, 154). The Respondent did not see a badge. (Tr. 254). At that point, the Respondent thought the man was “probably the process server.” (Tr. 154). The Respondent, while still holding his gun in his hand, again said “stay back, I don’t know who you are.” (Tr. 135, 154-55). The man came closer to the Respondent, said “I’m serving these papers” and tossed them down at the Respondent’s feet. (Tr. 135, 255). The Respondent said “get back,” and the man turned and went back to his vehicle. (Tr. 135). As the Respondent was walking up the steps to the side door of the courthouse the same man came near the handrail and said “I’m a process server, you can’t pull a gun on me, I’m going to go to the sheriff’s department.” The Respondent replied “go ahead.” (Tr. 135).
So James admitted to dodging service of process and knew that the van that he saw previously was probably the same server. He was being sued by Billie Henderson as his former secretary over her termination.
James ran for reelection while charged with felonies but was defeated. James is now in private practice in Anna, Illinois.
Notably, when he was elected in 2004, James insisted “I think it’s time that the state’s attorney’s office quits being the talk of the county. I don’t desire the office to be the focal point of the community, and I don’t desire to be the focal point of the community. I think people are ready for that – a calm state’s attorney’s office.” Well, that did not quite work out.
Source: ABA Journal