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Threaten the State Bar, Go to Jail

By William Vogeler, Esq. | Last updated on

It's fair to say that attorney Donald Franz had poor communication skills.

He left the wrong message on voicemail at the attorney discipline office. The message was: "You destroyed me, you filthy Democrat. Burn in hell."

That was a paraphrased transcription, but still. Some things you just can't say in print.

Wrong Message

The voicemail was actually worse than that -- Franz was already on probation for drunk-driving and weapons offenses. The rest of his message crossed the line from angry to actionable.

"You started this fight but I'm finishing it," Franz said. "I'm coming after you."

Maybe it was the son-of-a-preacher syndrome, which is the unofficial affliction of people who grow up rebelling against the high expectations of their birthright. Franz is the son of a former judge.

The near-do-well son grew up to become a local celebrity; almost everybody in Cook County knew him or his father. That's why county prosecutors and judges recused themselves from his prior case.

Telephone Harassment

Franz was ultimately placed on two years' probation in that case, but now he is being held without bail on felony harassment charges. The state bar had already suspended his license after the last incident.

In 2017, police pulled him over on suspicion of being under the influence and discovered he had a loaded gun in his car. Because he didn't have a current gun license, they searched his home and found he had more than 50 weapons -- including high-powered assault rifles and thousands of rounds of ammunition.

He also had a prior record with the state bar. He allegedly left threatening voicemail messages for the disciplinary commission that time, too.

In fairness, maybe Franz didn't have a communication issue. After all, it was pretty clear when he reportedly said: "I'll kill you with my bare hands."

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