Disciplinary Reporter Case Digest

Attorney ID 0
Attorney Name Anonymous,
DBP Docket No. 201 DB 2003
Supreme Court Docket No. NA
Disciplinary Counsel Richard Hernandez
Counsel for Respondent None
Decision Date 2004-11-22
Effective Date 0000-00-00
Case Digest Respondent engaged in misconduct in four separate criminal cases. In the first matter, Respondent was retained to prepare and file a Petition for Certiorari with the United States Supreme Court. Respondent, who was not admitted to practice before the Supreme Court, filed a pro se Petition without his client’s authorization and placed his client’s signature on the Petition without obtaining his client’s permission. The Petition was returned to Respondent for not complying with the Rules of the Supreme Court. Respondent also failed to provide his client with a written fee agreement. Following Respondent’s transfer to inactive status, Respondent engaged in the unauthorized practice of law by communicating with the prosecutor regarding the date his client would begin serving his prison term. In the aforementioned matter as well as three other criminal cases on appeal to the Superior Court of Pennsylvania, Respondent failed to advise his clients, the courts, and opposing counsel of Respondent’s transfer to inactive status, failed to withdraw his appearance in the three matters pending in Superior Court, failed to notify each of his clients of the closure of his office and of his new address, failed to respond to each of his clients’ inquiries, and failed to advise three of his clients of the outcome of their appeals before the Superior Court of Pennsylvania. Respondent also failed to file a verified statement of compliance with the Secretary of the Disciplinary Board. In mitigation, Respondent expressed remorse and cooperated with the Office of Disciplinary Counsel. Respondent had no prior record of discipline. Respondent also testified that he filed the pro se Petition to preserve his client’s rights and that he did not formally withdraw his appearance in the three client matters before the Superior Court because Respondent mistakenly believed that his removal from the court appointment list meant that he was removed as counsel of record in those matters, which were court-appointments.
Rule Violation(s) RPC 1.1, RPC 1.2(a), RPC 1.3, RPC 1.4(a), RPC 1.4(b), RPC 1.5(b), RPC 3.3(a)(1), RPC 4.1(a), RPC 5.5(b), RPC 8.4(c), and Pa.R.D.E. 203(b)(3) via Pa.R.D.E. 217(b) and 217(c)(2).
Discipline Imposed Private Reprimand
Points of Law
Report/Opinion not available