Disciplinary Reporter Case Digest

Attorney ID 201434
Attorney Name Dreisbach, Christopher Arthur
DBP Docket No. 8 DB 2010
Supreme Court Docket No. 1574 DD. 3
County Dauphin
Disciplinary Counsel John Francis Dougherty
Counsel for Respondent Robert H. Davis, Jr.
Decision Date 2011-03-24
Effective Date 2011-03-24
Case Digest On August 17, 2009, Respondent, an Assistant District Attorney, engaged in conduct beginning at his residence and ending at a hospital that included assaulting individuals while under the influence of alcohol and prescription medications. Respondent was convicted on pleas of guilty to four counts of Simple Assault, one count of Indecent Assault, one count of Unlawful Restraint, and one count of Public Drunkenness. Prior to sentencing, each victim of the assaults advised the Court that they felt probation was appropriate. Respondent was sentenced to seven years probation, with supervision by the probation department’s mental health specialist, 700 hours of community service, and payment of fines and costs. Except for the Summary Offense, the crimes of which Respondent was convicted are “serious crimes,” as defined in Rule 214(i), Pa.R.D.E, in that they can result in maximum terms of imprisonment of at least a year and a day. The convictions are a per se grounds for discipline under 203(b)(1), Pa.R.D.E. On December 13, 2010, a Joint Petition for Discipline on Consent was filed. The parties stipulated that at the time of the offenses the Respondent had an adverse reaction to having used a combination of prescription drugs and alcohol in an attempt to self-medicate his depression and sleeplessness related to a bi-polar illness, as supported by an expert’s opinion of a causal relationship. Noting that since the commission of the offenses that Respondent had successfully undergone inpatient and outpatient treatment and a substantially modified medical regimen, the expert opined that the episode from which the criminal charges arose was an instance of aberrant behavior that was unlikely to reoccur. The parties agreed that a six month suspension retroactive to the date of the voluntary temporary suspension was appropriate, with immediate reinstatement.
Rule Violation(s) 203(b)(1), Pa,R.D.E. and RPC 8.4(b)
Discipline Imposed Suspension for 6 months, retroactive with immediate reinstatement (on consent)
Points of Law Conduct warranting substantial discipline can be mitigated by improperly medicated psychiatric conditions that are established to be causally related to the misconduct, are subsequently properly controlled, and that the misconduct is unlikely to reoccur. A Joint Petition for the imposition of discipline may be an appropriate disposition for criminal charges referred by the Court to the Office of Disciplinary Counsel for the initiation of formal charges.
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