Crime & Courts

Police confiscate arsenal from Crystal Lake lawyer charged with DUI, assaulting officer

50-year-old also being investigated by Illinois attorney disciplinary commission

CRYSTAL LAKE – Police searched the home of a Crystal Lake lawyer facing charges of driving under the influence and aggravated battery, and they seized nearly 60 handguns, shotguns and assault-style rifles.

Donald F. Franz also is being investigated by the Illinois Attorney Registration and Disciplinary Commission for matters than include threatening an ARDC employee.

Franz, 50, was arrested after police responded about 10:20 p.m. Thursday to North Williams Street in Crystal Lake for the report of a possible intoxicated motorist. Crystal Lake Deputy Chief Tom Kotlowski said Franz became “uncooperative and combative with police” and resisted arrest.

Franz is accused of causing bodily harm to a Crystal Lake police officer when he allegedly “pushed the officer in the body with both open hands, resulting in an injury to her finger,” according to court documents.

Upon his arrest, Franz allegedly was found in possession of a loaded firearm, Kotlowski said. Additional rounds of assorted firearm ammunition also were found in the vehicle.

Crystal Lake police officers obtained a search warrant for Franz’s vehicle and his residence. Members of the department conducted the search of Franz’s Crystal Lake residence and located 36 high-powered rifles, assault-style rifles and shotguns; 20 assorted handguns; and thousands of rounds of ammunition, Kotlowski said. Franz is believed to be a hunter.

Franz was charged with aggravated DUI, a Class 4 felony; unlawful possession of a suspended driver’s license, a Class A misdemeanor; aggravated battery to a police officer, a Class 2 felony; aggravated resisting a police officer, a Class 4 felony; unlawful possession of a firearm without a requisite FOID card, a Class 4 felony; unlawful possession of firearm ammunition without a requisite FOID card, a Class A misdemeanor; unlawful possession of a revoked concealed carry license, a Class A misdemeanor; unlawful possession of a revoked FOID card, a Class A misdemeanor; and carrying a concealed firearm while under the influence, a Class A misdemeanor.

Franz is a self-employed lawyer practicing in Crystal Lake and the son of the late McHenry County Judge James Franz. He was released from McHenry County Jail custody Saturday after posting 10 percent of his $50,000 bond. He is expected to next appear in court Feb. 2 before McHenry County Judge Michael Feetterer.

Police are investigating the incident, and additional charges are expected, Kotlowski said. The Northwest Herald was unable to confirm Tuesday why Franz’s FOID card had been revoked.

Franz also faces sanctions from the state’s Attorney Registration and Disciplinary Commission. The commission first filed a complaint against Franz in 2014, alleging that he pressured a client to sign a promissory note requiring him to pay a $10,000 fee for legal representation in a divorce without informing him of his options. An additional count was added to the complaint last year, alleging that Franz challenged a client to a duel and insulted him during a dispute over fees.

In October, a third count was added to the pending complaint accusing Franz of sending threatening emails and voicemails to a former client, commission counsel Scott Renfroe, and ARDC Administrator Jerome Larkin.

Franz allegedly threatened to kill Larkin over the ARDC’s efforts to sanction him as recently as September, according to the complaint.

“Jerry Larkin, my name is Don Franz, I’m the attorney you are trying to murder because of the installment note, so the day you suspend me, I’m going to stop taking my pills, I’m going to get my affairs in order, I am going to kill you. Have a nice day,” Franz allegedly said in a voicemail message to Larkin on Sept. 14.

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