A former Lake County prosecutor who helped his drug-dealer roommate package and sort piles of cash and marijuana, then lied about it to police and his boss, should be disbarred, an Illinois disciplinary panel has found.
Aaron Isaacson's moonlighting in a criminal drug conspiracy was discovered in 2009 when his roommate Ryan Yoselowitz was arrested Downstate while delivering 23 pounds of premium marijuana to his biggest customer. Police then searched the lavish new Logan Square town house the roommates shared, finding marijuana in glass "candy jars" along with cash and a gun.
Isaacson, then a new prosecutor assigned to Lake County's traffic division, eventually agreed to cooperate with police in exchange for immunity. He also resigned from the state's attorney's office. Yoselowitz, who testified that Isaacson delivered drugs and accompanied him on his rounds, is serving a 12-year prison sentence.
Though Isaacson avoided criminal charges, he may lose his law license after a three-member panel of the Illinois Attorney Registration and Disciplinary Commission found last week that he had shown "an utter disregard for his responsibilities to uphold the law."
Testimony before the panel this summer showed that drug deals were almost a daily occurrence at the Logan Square home, which a retired Illinois State Police sergeant called "without a doubt ... the most elaborate, over-the-top place I've been to." Isaacson, who witnessed many of the drug transactions, paid $800 of the $2,800 monthly rent and knew his roommate's sole source of income was drug dealing.
He moved into the town home with Yoselowitz in 2009, not long after graduating from John Marshall Law School and passing the bar exam. Isaacson testified that he used marijuana and cocaine with his roommate, but he told the hearing panel that glass pipes found in his room were college souvenirs.
The bachelor pad reeked of marijuana, which arrived at least once a week in large hockey-size duffel bags filled with vacuum-sealed baggies of the drug, according to testimony. Isaacson testified that Yoselowitz liked baking "marijuana pastries," a delicacy the former prosecutor said he tried but to which he had a "horrible ... reaction."
The ruling by the disciplinary commission panel can be appealed within three weeks. Isaacson's attorney, George Collins, did not return a call seeking comment.
The final decision on whether Isaacson keeps his law license will be made by the Illinois Supreme Court.
There are some conflicting cases on whether prosecutors linked to drug crimes can keep practicing law. In the early 1990s, a Sangamon County assistant state's attorney was disbarred after being recorded by law enforcement allegedly bragging about his past drug trafficking exploits and setting up a $140,000 drug deal — activities that led to his being brought up on federal drug charges, according to court records.
The charges were later dropped by federal prosecutors.
In a separate case, a former Perry County state's attorney kept his license but was suspended from practicing law for two years after it was learned that he had purchased and used cocaine and marijuana while serving as that county's lead prosecutor in the 1980s, according to court records.
The attorney, Gerry Sims Jr., did not bring charges against those who allegedly sold him drugs. He is now licensed to practice law at a suburban St. Louis firm.
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