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COMMONWEALTH PENNSYLVANIA v. LUIS R. ROMAN. APPEAL GEORGE R. ZAISER (11/03/88)

filed: November 3, 1988.

COMMONWEALTH OF PENNSYLVANIA
v.
LUIS R. ROMAN. APPEAL OF GEORGE R. ZAISER



Appeal from the Order Entered September 9, 1987, in the Court of Common Pleas of Venango County, Criminal Division, at No. S.D. 180 & 308, 1986

COUNSEL

George R. Zaiser, Franklin, for appellant.

William G. Martin, Jr., District Attorney, Franklin, for Com., appellee.

Brosky, Kelly and Hester, JJ.

Author: Hester

[ 379 Pa. Super. Page 333]

Attorney George R. Zaiser appeals from the order entered September 9, 1987, in the Court of Common Pleas of Venango County, denying his petition to withdraw as defense counsel in the matter of Commonwealth v. Roman. We reverse.

Appellant, a Pennsylvania attorney, was hired to represent Luis R. Roman in two criminal cases -- one dealing with delivery of cocaine, the other with possession with intent to deliver cocaine, possession of cocaine, and possession of a small amount of marijuana. Appellant and Roman entered into a fee arrangement which provided that in the event Roman failed to make payment when due, appellant could withdraw from further representation. Roman was convicted of the charges following two jury trials. His post-verdict motions were denied, and he was sentenced to a term of incarceration on August 21, 1987. Appellant filed an appeal in both cases to this court and then petitioned to withdraw his representation. The trial court denied the petition, and this timely appeal followed.

Appellant contends that the client consented to his withdrawal. Moreover, the trial court accepted as true his allegation that Roman owed him $12,518.58. However, the court did not find this fact dispositive. The court wrote:

As the trial judge, we recognize that counsel has devoted his professional skills and much time in his capable representation of defendant. However, as of May 22, 1987, when total counsel fees and costs in the sum of $12,518.58 had been incurred, counsel had to know the account

[ 379 Pa. Super. Page 334]

    was delinquent (for what further period of time does not appear of record).

We conclude his petitions to withdraw his representation at this late stage of the proceedings, when appeals are ...


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