||In November 1998 Respondent was convicted of multiple felonies in connection with his sexual assault of two victims. In January 1999 he was sentenced to 4-1/2 to 9 years in a state prison.
He was temporarily suspended by the Supreme Court on April 23, 1999. He served his entire maximum sentence of 9 years, and was released from prison in February 2008. During his incarceration, efforts were made to conduct a degree of discipline hearing, but those efforts were unsuccessful.
Following his February 2008 release from prison, Respondent was contacted by Disciplinary Counsel and advised that the Petition for Discipline, which had been filed on January 9, 2001, would now proceed to a hearing. This hearing took place on September 22, 2008. Respondent declined to participate, and instead submitted a letter to Disciplinary Counsel dated September 1, 2008, indicating that he would not appear for the disciplinary hearing as he believed he was innocent of the criminal charges against him. It should be noted that, by September 2008, Respondent had pursued a direct appeal of his conviction, which was dismissed, and had filed a PCRA Petition, which had been denied by both the Trial Court, as well as the Superior Court, the latter dismissing his Petition on August 19, 2008.
Both the Hearing Committee, as well as the Disciplinary Board, concluded that the extremely egregious facts of this case, including the assaultive nature of Respondentís conduct, his lengthy prison sentence, the lack of mitigating factors, and his refusal to participate in the disciplinary process required disbarment.
The Disciplinary Board further opined that Respondentís disbarment should be prospectively computed, and that he should not be given credit for the 9 years he was incarcerated, notwithstanding the fact a Temporary Suspension Order had been entered prior to his imprisonment, and was in effect for the entire period of his incarceration.
The Supreme Courtís final Order was consistent with the Disciplinary Boardís recommendation and did not grant any retroactivity. Instead, Respondentís disbarment was computed from May 8, 2009, the date of the Supreme Courtís Disbarment Order.
|Points of Law
||A Respondent who is temporarily suspended based upon a criminal conviction, and is subsequently incarcerated, is not entitled, as a matter of right, to credit for incarceration time. Instead, whether or not to award such credit is a matter of discretion, the argument being that such credit should not be awarded, in that a Respondent who is incarcerated is unable to practice law regardless of the existence of a temporary suspension.