||Petitioner was charged, initially, with RPC violations for his misappropriation of $2,704.66 entrusted to him by a client, who intended that the money be used to pay a restitution obligation in a criminal matter, per Pa.R.Crim.P. 546. Petitioner failed to make the payment and failed to attend the court date for that purpose. Petitioner also lied to the client about having escrowed the entrusted funds. He then failed to reimburse the client for one year and did so only because the client obtained a judgment against Petitioner. Rules violated: RPC 1.3, 1.15(a), 8.4(c); Pa.R.D.E. 214(i) and 203(b)(1). Discipline imposed: two year suspension.
Petitionerís prior disciplinary history consists of two private reprimands administered in 2003, which arose out of three separate complaints.
At the reinstatement hearing, Petitioner provided credible testimony that he is a recovering alcoholic and recovering drug addict, and has been in recovery since June 13, 2004. Since his sobriety date Petitioner has engaged in treatment with a psychologist and has participated in Narcotics Anonymous (NA) and Alcoholics Anonymous (AA) meetings. The treatment sessions gradually tapered off as Petitioner became stable in his recovery. Petitioner currently attends AA and NA meetings several times a week and keeps in contact with his sponsor to guarantee that he stays sober.
Petitioner's recovery from his addiction to alcohol and drugs was the principal issue at the reinstatement hearing, as such efforts go directly to his rehabilitation and fitness. Petitioner presented sufficient evidence that he is currently sober, has been sober since June 13, 2004, and is dedicated to his recovery. Petitioner called numerous witnesses who provided compelling testimony as to his recovery efforts. These witnesses included his AA sponsor; an individual in recovery who is sponsored by Petitioner; attorneys in the community; a deputy sheriff; Judge Wagner of the Court of Common Pleas of Fayette County, who has employed Petitioner as a law clerk for approximately 18 months.; and Petitioner's wife, herself an attorney in recovery for addiction issues. These witnesses also provided evidence as to Petitioner's good character and reputation in the community. In addition to live witnesses, Petitioner presented two character letters in support of his reinstatement.