Algonquin attorney charged in murder plot loses law license


An Algonquin attorney who is facing federal murder-for-hire charges recently had his law license suspended by the Illinois Supreme Court.

Jason L. Smiekel, 30, is accused by federal authorities of trying to hire a man to kill his girlfriend's ex-husband.

Smiekel handled the woman's divorce proceedings and is tentatively set to stand trial Dec. 16 in Rockford.

The Illinois Supreme Court in mid-November suspended Smiekel's law license indefinitely, citing the felony charges he faces.

James Grogan, deputy administrator at the Illinois Attorney Registration and Disciplinary Commission, said Smiekel had not been disciplined by the commission since earning his law license in November 2006. Grogan said the court's decision is somewhat unusual, and another hearing will be set after Smiekel's trial is over.

"It's common to see suspension of that nature imposed after the conviction of a crime," Grogan said. "It was done here because of the seriousness of the alleged misconduct."

Smiekel's attorney, George Collins, argued that the court should hold off on its decision, nothing that Smiekel has been held without bond since his arrest, can't practice law while behind bars and is innocent until proven guilty.

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Smiekel was arrested Aug. 4 in the parking lot of a restaurant along Randall Road in Elgin. Authorities said Smiekel gave $7,000 in cash to an agent of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives who was posing as a hitman.

Smiekel was under the impression that the murder would be carried out against the McHenry County man about an hour later and made to look like it stemmed from a robbery, according to court documents.

A phone message left with Smiekel's criminal defense attorney Mark Gummerson was not returned.

If convicted, Smiekel faces up to 10 years in prison.

• Daily Herald staff writer Charles Keeshan contributed to this story.

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