Attorney for Convicted Killer’s Parents Faces $500 Sanction Over Baseless Lawsuit, Vows to Continue Fight for Exoneration

Naperville, Illinois – A federal judge has imposed a $500 penalty on an attorney representing the parents of Christopher Vaughn, a convicted killer. The judge determined that the attorney, Keith Altman, displayed “reckless indifference” by bringing baseless arguments in a recent lawsuit. However, Altman maintains that the judge’s decision was unwarranted and asserts that he will continue to advocate for Vaughn’s freedom and exoneration.

In 2012, a jury in Will County found Vaughn guilty of murdering his wife, Kimberly, and their three children. The bodies were discovered in the family’s SUV parked along a secluded road near Interstate 55 and Bluff Road. Currently, Vaughn is serving four life sentences at the Pinckneyville Correctional Center.

Efforts to exonerate Vaughn began to take shape in 2021, ultimately leading to a lawsuit filed on behalf of Vaughn’s parents by Attorney Keith Altman in August 2022. The lawsuit alleged improper manipulation of the grand jury that indicted Vaughn and accused an Illinois State Police sergeant of giving false testimony regarding blood found on a seatbelt in the SUV. However, a transcript of the testimony contradicts this claim, as the sergeant did not explicitly state that the blood belonged to Kimberly.

Although the merits of Altman’s lawsuit were never adjudicated, U.S. District Judge Manish Shah ruled in May that Vaughn’s parents lacked standing to bring the complaint. As a result, Shah imposed the $500 sanction on Altman for failing to conduct reasonable inquiries into the law and facts of the case. The judge emphasized that the jury’s guilty verdict in Vaughn’s trial superseded any alleged wrongdoing during the grand jury proceedings.

Shah also noted that while Vaughn’s parents undoubtedly suffered from their son’s incarceration, their constitutional rights had not been violated. The judge criticized Altman for not properly advising his clients on whether their grievances could be resolved through legal means.

Altman expressed disagreement with the judge’s ruling, asserting that the case was filed in good faith. Nevertheless, he has been ordered to pay the $500 sanction to Will County by January 24, as requested by the defendant in the lawsuit.

In summary, a federal judge has fined attorney Keith Altman $500 for his representation of Christopher Vaughn’s parents. Altman brought arguments in a lawsuit that were deemed to lack legal foundation. Despite the penalty, Altman remains steadfast in his defense of Vaughn and his pursuit of exoneration. Vaughn is currently serving four life sentences for the murder of his wife and children. The lawsuit, alleging misconduct during the grand jury process, was dismissed by the judge for lack of standing. Altman has been instructed to pay the sanction by January 24.