Rule 214. Attorneys convicted of crimes.
(a) An attorney convicted of a crime shall report the fact of such conviction within 20 days to the 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, Disciplinary Counsel shall 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 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.
(2) If a rule to show cause has been issued under paragraph (1), and the period for response has passed without a response having been filed, or after consideration of any response, the Court may enter an order requiring tempo-rary suspension of the practice of law by the respondent-attorney pending further definitive action under these rules.
(3) Any order of temporary suspension issued under this rule shall preclude the respondent-attorney from accepting any new cases or other client matters, but shall not preclude the respondent-attorney from continuing to represent existing clients on existing matters during the 30 days following entry of the order of temporary suspension.
(4) The respondent-attorney may at any time petition the Court for dissolution or amendment of an order of temporary suspension. A copy of the petition shall be served upon Disciplinary Counsel and the Secretary of the Board. A hearing on the petition before a member of the Board designated by the Chair of the Board shall be held within ten business days after service of the petition on the Secretary of the Board. The designated Board member shall hear the petition and submit a transcript of the hearing and a recommendation to the Court within five business days after the conclusion of the hearing. Upon receipt of the recommendation of the designated Board member and the record relating thereto, the Court shall dissolve or modify its order, if appropriate.
(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-attorneys may file with the Court a joint petition for temporary suspension of the respondent-attorneys on the ground that the respondent-attorneys temporary suspension is in the best interest of the respondent and the legal system.
The subject of the summary proceedings authorized by subdivision (d) will ordinarily be limited to whether the condition triggering the application of subdivision (d) exists, i.e., proof that the respondent-attorney is the same person as the individual convicted of the offense charged, 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 filing of a certificate of conviction of an attorney for a crime, 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.
subdivision (f)(1) authorizes Disciplinary Counsel to proceed under Rule 208 concurrently with the Courts exercise of jurisdiction under subdivision (d) of this Rule.
(2) Notwithstanding the provision of paragraph (1) that a hearing shall not be held until sentencing and all appeals from a conviction have been concluded, a respondent-attorney who has been temporarily suspended pursuant to this rule shall have the right to request an accelerated disposition of the charges which form the basis for the temporary suspension by filing a notice with the Secretary of the Board and Disciplinary Counsel requesting accelerated disposition. Within 30 days after filing of such a notice, Disciplinary Counsel shall file a petition for discipline, if such a petition has not already been filed, and the matter shall be assigned to a hearing committee for accelerated disposition. The assignment to a hearing committee shall take place within seven (7) days after the filing of such a notice or the filing of a petition for discipline, whichever occurs later. Thereafter the matter shall proceed and be concluded by the hearing committee, the Board and the Court without appreciable delay. If a petition for discipline is not timely filed or assigned to a hearing committee for accelerated disposition under this paragraph, the order of temporary suspension shall be automatically dissolved, but without prejudice to any pending or further proceedings under this rule.
The without appreciable delay standard of subdivision (f)(2) of the rule is derived from Barry v. Barchi, 443 U. S. 55, 66 (1979). Appropriate steps should be taken to satisfy this requirement, such as continuous hearing sessions, procurement of daily transcript, fixing of truncated briefing schedules, conducting special sessions of the Board, etc.
(g) 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.
(h) As used in this 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. Notwithstanding any other provision of this subdivision (h), the term crime shall include criminal contempt, whether direct or indirect, and without regard to the sentence that may be imposed or that 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.
(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.
The provisions of this Rule 214 amended through April 1, 1983, effective April 2, 1983, 13 Pa.B. 1179; amended February 7, 1989, effective February 25, 1989, 19 Pa.B. 763; amended November 17, 1989, effective December 9, 1989, 19 Pa.B. 5212; amended August 19, 1993, effective September 4, 1993, 23 Pa.B. 4204; amended March 5, 2004, effective March 20, 2004, 34 Pa.B. 1547; amended March 28, 2006, effective upon publication, 36 Pa.B. 1745; amended July 29, 2009, effective 30 days, 39 Pa.B. 4887; amended September 1, 2010, effective in sixty days, 40 Pa.B. 5292; amended March 19, 2012, effective in 30 days, 42 Pa.B. 1637; amended March 4, 2014, effective in 30 days, 44 Pa.B. 1749. Immediately preceding text appears at serial pages (360775) to (360778).
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