Drew's New Lawyer

"Poster boy for abuse"

Naperville attorney John Paul Carroll may get some measure of fame now that he's joined Drew Peterson's legal team, but he may come to regret the spotlight. He's not exactly being welcomed warmly to the arena.

"He is the poster boy for capital litigation abuse," Kati Phillips, a spokeswoman for state Treasurer Alexi Giannoulias, told the Daily Herald.

"Illinois lawmakers passed oversight reforms to the taxpayer-supported state capital litigation fund in 2005 as a direct result of Carroll's bill for his defense of Cecil Sutherland, on death row for the July 1987 sex slaying of a 10-year-old girl in rural Jefferson County," the DH reports.

"Carroll represented Sutherland in his 2004 retrial, in which the attorney submitted a $2 million bill, including $900,000 in legal fees, prompting outrage from state legislators. Among his bills, Carroll charged $135.68 an hour for the time it took to pack his van at his former Minnesota home and drive to Illinois."

The bio on Carroll's website - which bills his services as "Serious Help for Serious Problems" - offers a bit of insight into why he's joined Joel Brodsky on the case.

 "As a former Chicago Police Homicide Detective, undercover narcotics officer assigned to the federal Drug Enforcement Administration and a criminal prosecutor in Chicago, Mr. Carroll brings a unique perspective to the courtroom," the bio says. "He knows through personal experience the legal limitations the police and prosecutors must obey and he can identify and exploit any violations of those legal boundaries. This experience brings a tremendous advantage to those under the cloud of a serious criminal accusation, a situation where the outcome can change your life and drastically affect your future."

Carroll also lists his fees on his site: $25,000 to defend a murder charge; $50,000 if the death penalty is sought.

Missing is any mention of this nugget reported by the Daily Herald: "In the 1990s, Carroll's law license was suspended for 18 months, according to the Illinois Attorney Registration & Disciplinary Commission. An ARDC disciplinary panel found Carroll filed false income tax returns, gave inaccurate accounting to a client, and charged an excessive fee, according to an agency report."

Steve Rhodes is the proprietor of The Beachwood Reporter, a Chicago-centric news and culture review.

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