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News Maryland Baltimore County Towson

Defense attorney receives 18-month sentence on drug charges

A Towson attorney was sentenced Tuesday to 18 months in jail for smuggling drugs into the Baltimore County jail.

"I am ashamed and saddened I stand before you in this capacity," Jill Swerdlin told Circuit Judge Timothy J. Martin before the she was sentenced.

Swerdlin, 47, a defense attorney who has represented suspected dealers, pleaded guilty to drug charges in June. She admitted she had smuggled Suboxone — a drug used to treat addiction to opiates — into the Baltimore County Detention Center to clients during visits.

Police began investigating Swerdlin in 2012 after receiving a tip that she was involved in the distribution of prescription drugs.

Prosecutors said Swerdlin received oxycodone as payment for legal services and also purchased the drug herself. She was indicted in September on charges that included delivery of controlled substances to a confined individual and conspiracy to possess oxycodone.

Swerdlin said in court that she became addicted herself while recovering from a 2009 car accident, though she did not identify the drug or drugs to which she became addicted.

She said that "fear, pride and embarrassment" kept her from coming forward.

Martin called Swerdlin's case "a tragedy for all of us who practice law."

Swerdlin, a member of the Maryland State Bar Association since 1991, consented to disbarment as part of the plea agreement. In addition to jail time, she was sentenced to three years of probation.

jkanderson@baltsun.com

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Copyright © 2014, The Baltimore Sun
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