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KREHEL APPEAL (10/04/65)

decided: October 4, 1965.

KREHEL APPEAL


Appeal from order of Court of Common Pleas of Northumberland County, May T., 1965, No. 353, in re Peter Krehel, member of Northumberland County Bar Association.

COUNSEL

W. J. Krencewicz, with him Myron M. Moskowitz, for appellant.

Samuel Gubin, for appellee.

Bell, C. J., Musmanno, Jones, Cohen, Eagen, O'Brien and Roberts, JJ. Opinion by Mr. Justice Jones.

Author: Jones

[ 419 Pa. Page 87]

This is an appeal from an order of the Court of Common Pleas of Northumberland County which directed that Peter Krehel, a member of the bar of that court, be suspended from the practice of law in that court for a period of six months.

On October 15, 1964, Krehel received a letter from the Secretary of the Board of Censors of Northumberland County (the Board), whereby Krehel was informed

[ 419 Pa. Page 88]

    that a complaint had been made to the president judge of the court charging him with unprofessional conduct "in that [he] did on September 18, 1964, as Chairman of the Board of Arbitrators appointed to hear an action in trespass, . . . being the case of Elroy Hack v. Martin A. Ryan, solicit from Elroy Hack, plaintiff in said case, the sum of Twenty-five ($25) Dollars, and said sum was paid to [him], in consideration of [his] offer to take care of the hearing in behalf of Plaintiff, held September 24, 1964." The letter further stated that the court had referred the complaint to the Board and that a hearing was to be held on November 9, 1964.

After taking testimony from all parties involved, the Board made a finding that Elroy Hack actually paid $25 to Krehel but that such payment was made in consideration of services to be rendered by Krehel in connection with a criminal matter and that the money had not been paid for the purpose of influencing Krehel's action as an arbitrator in the civil case of Hack v. Ryan. While the only charge made against Krehel was the solicitation and acceptance of a bribe and while no charge was made of any other unprofessional conduct, the Board made a finding that Krehel had a personal bias and animosity toward Ryan, the defendant in the arbitration case, and that he acted unethically in failing to disqualify himself as an arbitrator in that case. The Board, therefore, recommended that Krehel be disciplined because of his failure to disqualify himself as a member of the board of arbitration.

Upon receiving the Board's report and recommendation, the court below, without a hearing de novo, adopted the Board's findings and conclusions, and entered the order of suspension from which this appeal has been taken.

The instant appeal is taken under the Act of May 19, 1879, P. L. 66, § 1, 17 P.S. § ...


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