Disciplinary Reporter Case Digest

Attorney ID 42514
Attorney Name Burd, Amy B.
DBP Docket No. 132 DB 2003
Supreme Court Docket No. 985 DD No. 3
County Centre
Disciplinary Counsel Joseph J. Huss
Counsel for Respondent None
Decision Date 2005-01-21
Effective Date 2005-02-21
Case Digest Respondent represented the Commonwealth, as an Assistant District Attorney, in a Clinton County jury trial, despite the fact that she had been previously transferred to inactive status for failure to submit her registration statement and pay her annual assessment, and was on inactive status at the time of this trial. In a different county, she neglected two matters in connection with which she had been court-appointed to represent criminal defendants. In one matter, she failed to file a Statement of Matters Complained of on Appeal, a Superior Court Docketing Statement, the defendantís brief, and failed to file a certification with the Superior Court that she had informed the defendant that his case had been dismissed because of her inaction. In the second matter, despite the fact she was appointed to assist a defendant in the preparation and filing of an amended PCRA Petition, she never did so, over a period in excess of two years. The Board determined it was an aggravating circumstance that Respondent had previously received an informal admonition for neglect (in violation of Rules of Professional Conduct 1.3 and 1.4) of a court-appointed clientís PCRA matter.
Rule Violation(s) RPC 1.1, 1.3, 1.4(a), 1.4(b), 5.5(b), 8.4(b), 8.4(c), 8.4(d), and Pa.R.D.E. 217(b), (c) and (d)
Discipline Imposed One year and one day suspension
Points of Law An attorney has an affirmative obligation to maintain an active attorney license if he/she intends to practice law. Inattention to, or misunderstanding of, the registration process does not justify or excuse a failure to properly maintain active status. Thus, even where the period during which the unauthorized practice of law occurs is brief and inadvertent, discipline may be appropriate.
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