Prosecutors charge Alton attorney with pot production, possession

By Bethany Krajelis | Jun 26, 2013

An Alton lawyer hit with an attorney disciplinary complaint last month is now facing drug charges.

Madison County prosecutors this week charged Bradford E. Hunt, 56, with two felonies --growing and possessing 24 marijuana plants at his Horn Street home in Alton – and a misdemeanor for possessing less than 2.5 grams of pot.

Court documents show Hunt allegedly committed the offenses Friday, had a warrant for his arrest issued Monday and then posted $10,000 bond to be released from jail.

The two felony charges Hunt faces each carry a two-to-five prison sentence and a $25,000 fine. The misdemeanor possession charge carries a 30-day jail sentence and a $1,500 fine.

On top of these criminal charges, Hunt is facing possible discipline from the state’s high court for an unrelated matter.

The Illinois Attorney Registration and Disciplinary Commission (ARDC) late last month lodged a complaint against Hunt, accusing him of using $60,000 in client funds for his own purposes.

Hunt, who became a licensed attorney in 1982 and practices at Bradford E. Hunt Law Offices in Alton, was served with the one-count complaint June 7.

The complaint alleges that Hunt used his client’s funds to make investments and pay his own tax and mortgage obligations.

The funds at issue belonged to the estate of Mitchell Harrell, who was shot by another minor child in September 1997 and was paralyzed from the waist down as a result.

Hunt, according to the complaint, represented Harrell in a civil suit against the shooter’s parents and grandfather, who owned the residence where the shooting took place.

After approving settlements in the suit, a judge ordered Hunt to place $60,000 of the funds in a client trust account to pay costs associated with anticipated litigation against the manufacturer of the firearm used in the shooting.

The ARDC asserts in its complaint that Hunt never filed the suit against the firearm manufacturer and failed to file any accountings of the funds in the client trust account as required by court order.

When Harrell’s mother requested an accounting of the money from Hunt, the ARDC alleges in its complaint that he told her “he had used the funds and asked her to ‘just keep the matter between the two of them.’"

The complaint alleges that Hunt “used the $60,000 entrusted to him for litigation expenses for his own purposes, including paying personal tax obligations, paying down the mortgage on his home, and making various investments.”

As of Wednesday, no hearing has been set in Hunt’s ARDC matter.

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