Friday, April 3, 2009
The Pennsylvania Supreme Court imposed disbarment in a matter involving misappropriation of entrusted funds. The Disciplinary Board had found that the evidence failed to establish that the misconduct was caused by depression brought on by the strained relationship between his third wife and a daughter from a second marriage. He wanted to funnel money to the daughter without knowledge of the wife. The bar's medical expert had confirmed that the lawyer suffered from major depression but "opined that in his experience depression does not trigger acts of dishonesty."
The board found that the lawyer had not established that depression was a causal factor producing the misconduct: "We do not find [his] assertions regarding his daughter being responsible for his misappropriations to be credible or compelling, as he had misappropriated $62,500.00 of funds belonging to his daughter, and [he] had also taken other funds from the estate that had nothing to do with his daughter." He had been suspended for three years in 1979 and later reinstated after his guilty plea to 114 counts of theft by deception. (Mike Frisch)