White Supremacist Files Malpractice Suit

New York Times/August 4, 2006

Chicago -- A white supremacist serving a 40-year prison sentence for seeking to have a federal judge murdered has filed a malpractice lawsuit against his former attorney.

A jury convicted Matthew Hale in April 2004 of soliciting his security chief, who was working as an FBI informant, to kill U.S. District Judge Joan Humphrey Lefkow.

Hale alleged in a lawsuit filed Wednesday in Cook County Circuit Court that his lead defense attorney, Thomas Durkin, "committed numerous acts and omissions that fell beneath a reasonable standard of care."

He is seeking $30 million in damages, according to the lawsuit.

Durkin told the Chicago Tribune that he had not yet seen the lawsuit.

"I don't believe it's worthy of a comment," he said. "I don't intend to dignify it."

Hale alleges in the lawsuit that Durkin charged Hale's father legal fees for services that never were performed. He also claims that Durkin improperly excluded white jurors and worked to get blacks on the jury, which worked against his case.

The jury was made up of six blacks, five whites and a Hispanic.

Prosecutors said Hale was angry at Lefkow because of a ruling she made against his white supremacist organization.

In 2002, she ordered Hale's group to stop using the name World Church of the Creator because the words were trademarked by a religious group. The judge never was attacked.

Her husband and mother were killed in her home the following year by a man who had no relation to the Hale case.

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