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MATTER WILLIAM E. DUFFIELD (FAYETTE COUNTY) (06/26/78)

SUPREME COURT OF PENNSYLVANIA


decided: June 26, 1978.

IN THE MATTER OF WILLIAM E. DUFFIELD (FAYETTE COUNTY)

No. 88; Disciplinary Docket No. 1; Disciplinary Board File No. 9 DB 74, No. 17 DB 77

COUNSEL

Charles C. Gentile, Uniontown, for petitioner.

Allen Zearfoss, Chief Counsel, Edward A. Burkhardt, Asst. Disciplinary Counsel, for Disciplinary Bd.

Eagen, C. J., and O'Brien, Roberts, Pomeroy, Nix, Manderino and Larsen, JJ. Manderino, J., did not participate in the consideration or decision of this matter. Larsen, J., filed a dissenting opinion.

Author: Per Curiam

[ 479 Pa. Page 472]

OPINION OF THE COURT

In a report dated January 20, 1975, filed by the Disciplinary Board of the Supreme Court in this case, the Board recommended that William E. Duffield be suspended from the practice of law for a period of two (2) years, with the right to apply for reinstatement within the last three months of the said two (2) years suspension period. While this recommendation was pending before this Court and prior to any action of this Court upon the said recommendation, Mr. Duffield, on October 7, 1975, filed an affidavit of disbarrment upon consent in accordance with the then Supreme

[ 479 Pa. Page 473]

Court Rule 17-15*fn1 (now designated as Rule of Disciplinary Enforcement 215). As a result, on October 29, 1975, respondent was disbarred on consent in accordance with the provisions of that rule.

On October 4, 1976, a Petition for Reinstatement was filed.*fn2 The Disciplinary Board after consideration recommended, on December 28, 1976, that the petition be dismissed primarily on the basis of the provisions of Rule 218(b) which forbids the application for reinstatement until the expiration of at least five years from the effective date of the disbarrment. Respondent petitioned this Court on January 3, 1977, to suspend Rule 218(b) in this matter, alleging that he had been led to believe that he would be permitted to file for reinstatement after the expiration of the two (2) year suspension period. This Court, after being satisfied that respondent's contention was supported by the record,

[ 479 Pa. Page 474]

    granted the request that Rule 218(b) be suspended on January 14, 1977 and permitted respondent to file a petition for reinstatement after April 20, 1977.

On April 22, 1977, the present petition for reinstatement was filed and was referred by this Court to the Board for report and recommendation. On May 16, 1977, a new Petition for Discipline was filed with the Board and captioned at No. 17 DB 77. The two matters were consolidated by the Board for hearing and we now have before us the Report and Recommendations of the Board recommending reinstatement and the dismissal of the Petition for Discipline. After consideration of the entire record we are satisfied that the Board's recommendations should be accepted and pursuant thereto we issue the following:

Order

AND NOW, to wit this 26th day of June, 1978, the Petition for Discipline at No. 17 DB 77 is dismissed, and further, the Petition for Reinstatement is granted. The expenses incurred by the Board in the investigation and processing of the Petition for Reinstatement, which have been determined to be Eight Hundred and Thirty-Three Dollars ($833.00), are to be borne by respondent.

LARSEN, Justice, dissenting.

I dissent.

Any attorney who steals money from a client should be disbarred, and when that attorney is disbarred, there are no extenuating circumstances which can cause a waiver of the five year waiting rule [Pa.R.D.E. 218(b)].


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