clock menu more-arrow no yes

Filed under:

Joel Brodsky, former attorney for Drew Peterson, barred from practicing law by state Supreme Court

The order comes after Brodsky’s suspension from practicing in federal court.

Attorney Joel Brodsky talks to reporters during the Drew Peterson trial in 2012. | Sun-Times file photo.
Attorney Joel Brodsky, pictured talking to reporters in 2012 during the Drew Peterson trial, was suspended from practicing law in an order released Wednesday by the Illinois Supreme Court.
Sun-Times file photo

Attorney Joel A. Brodsky — best known for representing wife-killer Drew Peterson — has been suspended from practicing law in the state indefinitely by the Illinois Supreme Court.

The court’s order, released Wednesday, announced Brodsky was “suspended from the practice of law effective immediately and until further order of the court.”

Brodsky could not be reached for comment on Wednesday.

The order comes after an investigation by the Illinois Attorney Registration and Disciplinary Commission that began in 2018 when other attorneys complained about Brodsky, as well as sanctions leveled against him by a federal judge concerning Brodsky’s behavior last year while he was representing S&M Auto Brokers in an odometer rollback case.

On March 28, 2018, Brodsky was fined $50,000 by U.S. District Judge Virginia Kendall and ordered to take ethics and anger management classes, the Chicago Sun-Times reported.

In a 15-page opinion, Kendall also said she would refer Brodsky to the district court’s executive committee to be barred or suspended from practicing law in federal court in Chicago.

“Throughout the course of the litigation, the court has observed first-hand Brodsky’s unprofessional, contemptuous and antagonistic behavior directed at opposing counsel,” Kendall wrote.

That behavior included sending “vitriolic emails” to other attorneys in the case and accusing an expert witness of fabricating a son, Kendall wrote.

At the time, Brodsky’s attorney, Joe “The Shark” Lopez, said his client could be “over the top” at times and said Brodsky was “overzealous on behalf of his clients.”

Kendall made her notification to the committee on April 5 last year, according to court records, and the sanctions she imposed were upheld by the Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals in January.

The executive committee suspended Brodsky for a year in April, but the suspension was reduced to six months on June 6 in light of Brodsky’s “acceptance of responsibility” and payment of the fine, according to court records.

In her opinion, Kendall noted it wasn’t the first time Brodsky’s behavior had gotten him into trouble.

“Sadly, the court learned of numerous other instances in state court where Brodsky has been left unscathed by sanctions which might have led to his belief that he could act with impunity when acting as a litigator in court,” Kendall wrote. “That stops here.”

Following Peterson’s conviction in 2012, a Will County judge took issue with how Brodsky handled himself following the verdict, the Sun-Times previously reported.

Peterson, the former Bolingbrook police sergeant convicted of murdering his third wife, Kathleen Savio, has blamed Brodsky for his conviction, because of Brodsky’s decision to call a divorce attorney to the stand who gave bombshell testimony against Peterson during the trial.

Brodsky is also known for representing Robert Rialmo, the embattled Chicago police officer who shot and killed 19-year-old Quintonio LeGrier as well as an innocent bystander, Bettie Jones, during a controversial 2015 encounter while responding to a domestic disturbance at a West Side home.

Brodsky was admitted to practice law by the Illinois Supreme Court in 1982, according to the Attorney Registration and Disciplinary Commission’s online records, which still listed Brodsky as “active and authorized” to practice law on Wednesday.