Thomas A. Livingston, Dennis J. Clark, Pittsburgh, for respondent.
Thomas J. Shannon, Pittsburgh, for petitioner.
Jones, C. J., and Eagen, O'Brien, Roberts, Pomeroy, Nix and Manderino, JJ. Manderino, J., concurs in the result.
Respondent, John W. Campbell, Jr., has practiced law for twenty years. In December 1971 he undertook to represent Charlene McIlwaine, who was then under federal indictment for possessing approximately thirty pounds of marijuana. Immediately upon accepting her case, respondent received from her a retainer of $1,000.
During the course of his representation respondent informed his client that he could for a price "fix" her case as he had done previously in other criminal matters. He sought and received over $4,000 to allegedly arrange the suppression of fingerprint evidence. In fact, no such evidence existed.
Respondent made subsequent demands for additional money which Ms. McIlwaine was unable to furnish directly. Respondent then suggested that she contact her associates to arrange a meeting between themselves and him. Respondent wished to propose a plan for the transporting of drugs to Pittsburgh for distribution. Ms. McIlwaine agreed to do so but later contacted the federal authorities. Ms. McIlwaine and two undercover agents then met with respondent at a bar on June 1, 1972.
At that meeting respondent stated that he had used the initial money received from Ms. McIlwaine to suppress the fingerprint and other unspecified evidence. He also informed them that he needed an additional $10,000 to pay his fee and to finalize the dismissal of charges.
Respondent later told Officer Stephen F. Terscak of the Pittsburgh Police Department of his conduct in the case and that he was attempting to set up a drug transportation plan. He also asked Officer Terscak to confirm to his supposed co-conspirators that respondent had, in fact, secured the suppression of the fingerprint evidence through the efforts of Officer Terscak. Unknown to respondent, Officer Terscak agreed to play this part only to uncover the identity of the other parties to the scheme. At a subsequent meeting on June 20, 1972, respondent and Officer Terscak acted out their roles for the federal undercover agents.*fn1
Later respondent was indicted by the federal authorities for using the mails to defraud. The indictment was based on the correspondence exchanged between the United States Attorney and respondent in regard to Ms. McIlwaine's drug case. Although a significant portion of the evidence outlined above was presented at trial ...