Disciplinary Reporter Case Digest

Attorney ID 19412
Attorney Name Perrone, William James
DBP Docket No. 74 DB 1993
Supreme Court Docket No. No. 959 DD No. 2
County Chester
Disciplinary Counsel Harold E. Ciampoli, Jr.
Counsel for Respondent Samuel C. Stretton
Decision Date 2006-06-20
Effective Date 2006-06-20
Case Digest Perrone was disbarred from the practice of law retroactive to September 1,1993 based upon his criminal conviction for theft by deception, tampering with public records or information, securing execution of documents by deception and unsworn falsification to authorities. Perrone’s misconduct arose from his filing of false and misleading fee petitions with the City of Philadelphia in his capacity as court appointed criminal defender. In December 1997 Perrone petitioned the Court to be reinstated to the practice of law. In a published opinion contained at 777 A.2d 413 (Pa. 2001) the Court stated that Perrone’s misconduct was not so deplorable that he could never be reinstated to the bar. However, the Court concluded that an insufficient amount of time (eight years) had passed to dissipate the detrimental impact of his misconduct on the public trust. Perrone filed a second petition for reinstatement on April 3, 2003. The Office of Disciplinary Counsel (“ODC”) opposed this petition on the ground that Perrone had failed to comply with the requisites of Pa.R.D.E. 217(j). The Court issued its second opinion found at 899 A.2d 1108 and granted Perrone’s petition. The Court initially rejected Perrone’s argument that Rule 217(j) did not apply to him because the language of the Rule used the terms “employed” and/or “employment” and Perrone performed his law-related services as an independent contractor rather than an employee. The Court held that the plain language of the rule establishes that subsection (j)(4) applies to all law-related services performed by formerly admitted attorneys, regardless of the manner by which they are performed. ODC had argued that the Rule requires a formerly admitted attorney to be physically present in the office of the attorneys who are supervising him and that Perrone violated Rule 217(j)(4)(ii) because he had performed his legal services from his home office. However, the Court rejected ODC’s argument and found that Perrone complied with the requisites of the Rule because a supervising attorney was present at a law office on a full-time basis and directly monitored all of the law-related services performed by Perrone. ODC had also argued that Perrone’s reinstatement should be denied because he had failed to file a notice of employment as required by Rule 217(j) (5). The Court concluded that Perrone’s failure to comply with this subsection did not adversely reflect on his fitness and should not serve as a basis for denial of his petition. However, the Court noted that the term “employment” contained in this section could be confusing and referred subsection (j) (5) to the Board for amendment to clarify proper application. The rule was amended December 23, 2006 (36 Pa.B. 7801).
Rule Violation(s) Pa. R.D.E. 217(j)(4)(5)
Discipline Imposed Reinstatement granted.
Points of Law Published Opinion at 899 A.2d 1108 (Pa. 2006)
Report/Opinion Download