Crime & Courts

Former Crystal Lake attorney headed to jail for threatening call

Donald Franz
Donald Franz

A Crystal Lake lawyer, who had been on probation for aggravated resisting a peace officer and possession of a revoked firearm owners identification card, is headed to jail for threatening a member of the Illinois Attorney Registration and Discipline Commission.

Donald Franz, 52, was serving a 24-month probation on his previous convictions. The initial charges stem from a 2017 incident where he was pulled over in Crystal Lake for suspected driving under the influence of alcohol. He was accused of shoving and injuring the arresting police officer and hurting her finger. Later, a search of his home uncovered dozens of guns for which he did not have a valid firearm owner’s identification card, according to court documents.

The new charge, harassment by telephone for making calls to an attorney at the Attorney Registration and Disciplinary Committee, resulted in his probation being revoked. On Tuesday, Judge Val Gunnarsson sentenced him to 60 days in jail. He must serve his time at 50% and will receive credit for five days in jail. He also was sentenced to 30 months of probation. With credit for probation already served, his probation would expire June 2020.

Gunnarsson ordered Franz to report to McHenry County Jail at noon Aug. 23.

Gunnarsson is a judge from Mount Carroll brought in to hear the case after all other McHenry County judges chose to recuse themselves because they had worked with Franz.

He warned Franz not to violate any terms of his sentence.

“Let’s get this done right and put this stage of your life behind you,” he told Franz.

Prosecutors said that July 19 and Aug. 15 of 2018 Franz made harassing telephone calls to an attorney at the ARDC office that were “obscene, lewd, lascivious, filthy or indecent with the intent to offend.”

Franz is accused of threatening the attorney in a voicemail that said, “You destroyed me, you filthy Democrat. Burn in hell. You started this fight, but I’m finishing it. I’m coming after you,” according to the Cook County complaint, which claimed to quote the message.

Franz, who no longer is a licensed attorney, said he has been working as a welder.

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