Tuesday, October 4, 2011
The Pennsylvania Supreme Court adopted the recommendation of its Disciplinary Board and ordered a three-year suspension of an attorney convicted of drug offenses.
Justice McCafferty dissented on sanction:
Respondent was convicted of drug offenses after he delivered marijuana to a prisoner in the attorney-client meeting room in the Allegheny County Jail. Clearly, [he] misused his professional status to ensure that the illegal delivery took place in an area of the prison that offers a greater level of privacy than an ordinary meeting room... the level of individual hypocrisy and reprehensible behavior is outrageous...Respondent's history bespeaks dubious and reckless character traits that are not easily subject to reform, particularly given that Respondent is 63 years of age.
Justice McCafferty notes that the attorney had been arrested in 2004 for possession of crack cocaine and reckless driving. In 1976, while a law student, the attorney entered a guilty plea to attempted sodomy.
The West Virginia statute that the attorney violated was later repealed.
The board report notes that the attorney was using cocaine. His drug dealer was locked up. He took the marijuana in an envelope from the dealer's girlfriend and stuffed it in his sock. He intended to trade for cocaine money. He got caught.
The board also found that the attorney failed to establish a remediable disability to mitigate sanction under the Braun decision. (Mike Frisch)