Lawyer charged with attempting to deliver pot to jailed clients

Monday, June 23, 2003

CHICAGO -- A drug-sniffing dog barked at a defense attorney visiting clients at the Cook County Jail and officers found 4 ounces of marijuana taped to his thighs, authorities said.

Barry Alan Mattes, 49, was arrested after consenting to a search Friday. He was charged with bringing contraband to a penal institution, a felony. He was freed after posting bail.

"He admitted to the sheriff's police officers that he intended to pass marijuana to his inmates," Cook County sheriff's spokesman Bill Cunningham said.

None of the inmates received any of the drugs, so they were not charged with a crime, Cunningham said.

He would not disclose the crimes Mattes' clients were accused of committing.

Cunningham said Mattes could face additional charges of possession of marijuana and attempt to deliver marijuana, though Cook County state's attorney's spokesman Jerry Lawrence would not comment about whether prosecutors would seek other charges.

A conviction on the contraband charge could bring a sentence of two to five years in prison, Lawrence said.

Mattes did not immediately return a phone call to his Chicago office from The Associated Press on Sunday.

Attorneys have unmonitored visitor privileges with inmates, while friends and family members who visit are watched and separated from them by glass. Attorneys and their clients are provided private rooms to preserve attorney-client confidentiality.

Inmates typically are not searched after meetings with their attorneys, Cunningham said.

Records with the Attorney Registration and Disciplinary Commission of the Supreme Court of Illinois show Mattes started practicing law in the state in 1981 and has no disciplinary record with the commission.

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