It is rather a minor news because it was totally expected. Also, this development is pale in comparison to the criminal action against John Steele and Paul Hansmeier — the masterminds behind one of the most egregious abuses of the copyright law. Nonetheless, since this blog published more than 150 stories about Prenda (likely helping to accelerate the inevitable), to me it is a milestone worth marking.
According to Cook County Record,
On May 19, the Illinois Supreme Court announced its action against Steele, as well as six others who were disbarred by the court in attorney disciplinary orders handed down May 18. The court also suspended nine other attorneys and censured or reprimanded six more.
In announcing Steele’s disbarment, the Illinois Attorney Registration and Disciplinary Commission – the state body which oversees attorney discipline matters in Illinois – said Steele, who had been licensed in Illinois since 2007, was disbarred “on consent.”
The disbarment took place exactly 21 month after the Illinois Attorney Registration and Disciplinary Commission of the Supreme Court of Illinois filed its ethics complaint against Steele.
When Prenda went down in flames, both John Steele and his partner in crime Paul Hansmeier¹ (whose license was eventually suspended on 9/12/2016) switched to ADA trolling. After soliciting several folks with disabilities to be plaintiffs, John Steele (with help from his buddy, a fugitive Mark Lutz) attempted to extort 29 Northern Illinois businesses. Note that 21 of the lawsuits were initiated after the IARDC complaint. All those cases are closed now for various reasons, and I don’t know exactly how many victims paid up.
A mandatory cliché: the wheels of justice are slow, but they do grind. The next cog to move is named “Sentencing.”
- Law360 (possible paywall): Prenda Porn Troll Agrees To Be Disbarred In Illinois
- TorrentFreak: Copyright Troll Attorney John Steele Disbarred by Illinois Supreme Court
- Arstechnica: Lawyer who founded Prenda Law is disbarred
- The Register: Scheming copyright scam lawyer John Steele disbarred in Illinois
- Engadget: Copyright troll lawyer is finally disbarred for fraud