Pa. Supreme Court slaps Phila. lawyer with three-year suspension

By Jon Campisi | Nov 25, 2012

A Philadelphia attorney who has been practicing law in the commonwealth for more than

a decade has been handed a three-year suspension by the Pennsylvania Supreme Court.

John Martin Cahill, Jr., who was admitted to practice law on Aug. 23, 2001, was suspended on Nov. 16 by the high court on recommendation by a three-member panel of the Supreme Court’s Disciplinary Board.

Justice Seamus McCaffery dissented from the decision.

The record shows that Disciplinary Board members R. Burke McLemore, Jr., Gabriel L. Bevilacqua, and Albert Momjian, in mid August supported a joint petition by the Office of Disciplinary Counsel that sought the three-year suspension for Cahill, who was convicted in Philadelphia’s Municipal Court in early November 2009 of possessing crack cocaine.

Cahill was given 12 months of probation and mandatory drug counseling, court records show.

Cahill appealed the conviction in Philadelphia’s Common Pleas Court in December 2009, but his appeal was denied.

In October of last year, the Supreme Court referred Cahill’s criminal conviction matter to the Disciplinary Board for the institution of formal proceedings before a hearing committee.

It was ultimately determined that the attorney had violated the Rules of Professional Conduct and the Rules of Disciplinary Enforcement when he failed to report his conviction of what is termed a “serious crime.”

Cahill was administratively suspended by the Supreme Court in November 2010, months after he failed to pay his annual attorney registration fee and file his annual registration form, the record shows.

Cahill wasn’t reinstated until February 22, 2011.

“While [Cahill] was on administrative suspension, [Cahill] repeatedly engaged in the practice of law in violation of the regulation of the legal profession in Pennsylvania,” the Disciplinary Board had written in its Aug. 15 petition in support of discipline.

The board went on to list a number of complaints Cahill filed on behalf of clients during his suspension period.

Cahill eventually agreed to the three-year suspension term, the record shows.

Court papers show that Cahill also had prior convictions for driving with a suspended license, resisting arrest and disorderly conduct.

He also had open judgments against him for failing to pay child support and failing to pay a student loan, the record states.

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