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THE COURTS

Title 204—JUDICIAL SYSTEM GENERAL PROVISIONS

PART V. PROFESSIONAL ETHICS AND CONDUCT

[204 PA. CODE CHS. 81 AND 83]

Amendment of Rule 214 of the Rules of Disciplinary Enforcement and Rule 8.3 of the Rules of Professional Conduct; No. 107 Disciplinary Rules Doc.

[42 Pa.B. 1637]
[Saturday, March 31, 2012]

Order

Per Curiam

And Now, this 19th day of March, 2012, upon the recommendation of the Disciplinary Board of the Supreme Court of Pennsylvania; the proposal to amend Pa.R.D.E. 214 having been published for comment in the Pennsylvania Bulletin, 41 Pa.B. 4845 (September 10, 2011), and the proposal to amend the Comment to Pa.R.P.C. 8.3 having been submitted without publication in the interests of justice pursuant to Pa.R.J.A. No. 103(a)(3):

It Is Ordered pursuant to Article V, Section 10 of the Constitution of Pennsylvania that Rule 214 of the Pennsylvania Rules of Disciplinary Enforcement and the Comment to Rule 8.3 of the Rules of Professional Conduct are amended in the following form.

 This Order shall be processed in accordance with Pa.R.J.A. No. 103(b), and shall be effective in 30 days.

Annex A

TITLE 204. JUDICIAL SYSTEM GENERAL PROVISIONS

PART V. PROFESSIONAL ETHICS AND CONDUCT

Subpart A. PROFESSIONAL RESPONSIBILITY

CHAPTER 81. RULES OF PROFESSIONAL CONDUCT

Subchapter A. RULES OF PROFESSIONAL CONDUCT

§ 81.4. Rules of Professional Conduct.

 The following are the Rules of Professional Conduct:

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MAINTAINING THE INTEGRITY OF THE PROFESSION

Rule 8.3. Reporting Professional Misconduct.

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Comment:

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(8) In addition to reporting a violation of another lawyer, a lawyer is required by the Pennsylvania Rules of Disciplinary Enforcement to self-report in certain circumstances. Pa.R.D.E. 214(a) provides that an attorney convicted of a crime shall report the fact of that conviction within 20 days to the Office of Disciplinary Counsel. For purposes of that rule, the term ''crime'' means an offense that is punishable by imprisonment in the jurisdiction of conviction, whether or not a sentence of imprisonment is actually imposed. It does not include parking violations or summary offenses, both traffic and non-traffic, unless a term of imprisonment is actually imposed.

(9) Likewise, Pa.R.D.E. 216(e) requires an attorney who has been transferred to disability inactive status or disciplined in another court or by any body authorized by law or by rule of court to conduct disciplinary proceedings against attorneys by any state or territory of the United States or of the District of Columbia, a United States court, or by a federal administrative agency or a military tribunal, by suspension, disbarment, or revocation of license or pro hac vice admission, or who has resigned from the bar or otherwise relinquished his or her license to practice while under disciplinary investigation in another jurisdiction, to report the fact of that transfer, suspension, disbarment, revocation or resignation to the Secretary of the Board within 20 days after the date of the order, judgment or directive imposing or confirming the discipline or transfer to disability inactive status.

Subpart B. DISCIPLINARY ENFORCEMENT

CHAPTER 83. PENNSYLVANIA RULES OF DISCIPLINARY ENFORCEMENT

Subchapter B. MISCONDUCT

Rule 214. Attorneys convicted of crimes.

 (a) An attorney convicted of a [serious] crime shall report the fact of such conviction within 20 days to the [Secretary of the Board] Office of Disciplinary Counsel. The responsibility of the attorney to make such report shall not be abated because the conviction is under appeal or the clerk of the court has transmitted a certificate to Disciplinary Counsel pursuant to subdivision (b).

 (b) The clerk of any court within the Commonwealth in which an attorney is convicted of any crime, or in which any such conviction is reversed, shall within 20 days after such disposition transmit a certificate thereof to Disciplinary Counsel, who shall file such certificate with the Supreme Court.

 (c) Upon being advised that an attorney has been convicted of a crime [within this Commonwealth], Disciplinary Counsel shall secure and file a certificate [in accordance with the provisions of subdivision (b). If the conviction occurred in another jurisdiction, it shall be the responsibility of Disciplinary Counsel to secure and file a certificate] of such conviction with the Supreme Court.

 (d)(1) Upon the filing with the Supreme Court of a certified copy of an order demonstrating that an attorney has been convicted of a [serious] crime, the Court may enter a rule directing the respondent-attorney to show cause why the respondent-attorney should not be placed on temporary suspension, which rule shall be returnable within ten days.

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 (5) At any time before a plea or verdict or after a guilty plea or verdict of guilt in the criminal proceeding, Disciplinary Counsel and the respondent-attorney may file with the Court a joint petition for temporary suspension of the [respondent-attorney's] respondent-attorney on the ground that the respondent-attorney's temporary suspension is in the best interest of the respondent and the legal system.

Official Note: The subject of the summary proceedings authorized by subdivision (d) [is] will ordinarily be limited to whether the [conditions] condition triggering the application of subdivision (d) [exist] exists, i.e., proof that the respondent-attorney is the same person as the individual convicted of the offense charged [and that the offense is a serious crime, and will not include], although the Court has the discretion to consider such subjects as mitigating or aggravating circumstances. The provision of subdivision (d)(3) permitting the respondent-attorney to continue representing existing clients for 30 days is intended to avoid undue hardship to clients and to permit a winding down of matters being handled by the respondent-attorney, and the permissible activities of the respondent-attorney are intended to be limited to only those necessary to accomplish those purposes.

 (e) A certificate of a conviction of an attorney for a crime shall be conclusive evidence of the commission of that crime in any disciplinary proceeding instituted against the attorney based upon the conviction.

 (f)(1) Upon the [receipt] filing of a certificate of conviction of an attorney for a [serious] crime, [the Court shall, in addition to any order of suspension it may enter in accordance with the provisions of subdivision (d), also refer the matter to the Board for the institution of a formal proceeding before a hearing committee in the appropriate disciplinary district in which the sole issue to be determined shall be the extent of the final discipline to be imposed, except that a disciplinary proceeding so instituted shall not be brought to hearing until sentencing and all appeals from the conviction are concluded] Disciplinary Counsel may commence either an informal or formal proceeding under Enforcement Rule 208, except that Disciplinary Counsel may institute a formal proceeding before a hearing committee or special master by filing a petition for discipline with the Board without seeking approval for the prosecution of formal charges under Enforcement Rule 208(a)(3). If a petition for discipline is filed, a hearing on the petition shall be deferred until sentencing and all direct appeals from the conviction have been concluded. The sole issue at the hearing shall be the extent of the discipline or, where the Court has temporarily suspended the attorney under subdivision (d) of this rule, the final discipline to be imposed.

Official Note: Subdivision (f)(1) authorizes Disciplinary Counsel to proceed under Rule 208 concurrently with the Court's exercise of jurisdiction under subdivision (d) of this Rule.

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 (g) [Upon receipt of a certificate of a conviction of any attorney for a crime other than a serious crime, the Court shall take such action as it deems warranted. The Court may in its discretion take no action with respect to convictions for minor offenses.

Official Note: The actions the Court may take under subdivision (g) include reference of the matter to the Office of Disciplinary Counsel for investigation and possible commencement of either a formal or informal proceeding, or reference of the matter to the Board with direction that it institute a formal proceeding.

(h)] An attorney suspended under the provisions of subdivision (d) may be reinstated immediately upon the filing by the Board with the Court of a certificate demonstrating that the underlying conviction has been reversed, but the reinstatement will not terminate any formal proceeding then pending against the attorney.

[(i)] (h) As used in this rule, the term [''serious crime''] ''crime'' means [a crime] an offense that is punishable by imprisonment [for one year or upward in this or any other jurisdiction] in the jurisdiction of conviction, whether or not a sentence of imprisonment is actually imposed. It does not include parking violations or summary offenses, both traffic and non-traffic, unless a term of imprisonment is actually imposed.

[(j)] (i) For the purposes of this rule, Enforcement Rule 203(b)(1) and Enforcement Rule 402, ''conviction'' means any guilty verdict, whether after trial by judge or jury, or finding of guilt, and any plea of guilty or nolo contendere that has been accepted by the court, whether or not sentence has been imposed.

[Pa.B. Doc. No. 12-570. Filed for public inspection March 30, 2012, 9:00 a.m.]



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