Tuesday, May 6, 2008

Self-Medication With Cocaine No Bar To Suspension

A Pennsylvania lawyer was suspended for a year and one day (a sanction that requires the attorney to petition for reinstatement) for "his solicitation of cocaine from his client." The lawyer had been friends with the client  "since the late 1980's and was his attorney from August 2004 to January 2006." The friend "was under investigation for a murder and a listening device had been installed in his home by police..." As a result of the information gleaned from the listening device, the investigation expanded into cocaine distribution. The attorney had testified in exchange for immunity against the friend and another person who had supplied the cocaine. The attorney testified in the disciplinary case that he had used cocaine to self-medicate for Irritable Bowel Syndrome. The Pennsylvania Disciplinary Board rejected a plea for a non-suspensory sanction. A dissent would have imposed the two-year suspension proposed by the Hearing Committee. (Mike Frisch)


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