||Respondent and Disciplinary Counsel submitted this disciplinary case to the Court via the filing of a Joint Petition for Discipline on Consent. In it, Respondent admitted to multiple violations of the Rules of Professional Conduct, in five separate matters, during 2006-2008.
Two of the matters involved direct criminal contempt convictions. In the first, Respondent represented a Potter County defendant charged with more than 100 criminal offenses. When brought to court to pick a jury, the defendant refused, stating that he wanted to plead guilty, but that respondent had not explained either the charges or the potential sentences. The district attorney indicated that a plea agreement Respondent claimed to have negotiated never existed. The case was continued, and defendant sought new counsel. The trial judge found that Respondent caused “chaos,” which “clearly interfered with the orderly administration of justice.” He was held in contempt, and fined $500.
In the second matter, Respondent was found guilty of criminal contempt in a Potter County domestic case, as a result of his failure to appear, which the court found “snarled and inconvenienced” the court. Respondent was fined $75, and directed to pay $200 in counsel fees to opposing counsel.
Two of the remaining matters involved civil contempt findings. In one, Respondent failed to appear on behalf of the defendant in a Bradford County criminal case. He had previously made inconsistent claims about his whereabouts in an attempt to justify his non-appearance. He was found in contempt and ordered to perform 5 hours of pro bono legal service.
In the second civil contempt matter, Respondent referred to the tribunal he was appearing in front of, in a domestic matter, as running a “circus sideshow.” He was found in contempt and fined $500.
In the fifth matter, Respondent was court-appointed to represent a criminal defendant in a McKean County PCRA matter. During a court appearance, he misrepresented to the trial judge that he had subpoenaed a witness when, in fact, he had not.
The parties’ Consent Petition set forth several mitigating circumstances, including the fact that much of Respondent’s misconduct occurred at the same time his marriage, to his law partner, was unraveling, as was his law practice. A mental health evaluation and treatment were required as conditions of his probation.