The Pennsylvania Supreme Court on Thursday suspended a York attorney’s license for two years after the Disciplinary Board found he was guilty of professional misconduct in five separate cases.
Clarence Allen, 69, demonstrated a “gross pattern of negligence and incompetence, which often undermined the administration of justice”, according to a 37-page report. He received an informal reprimand for “nearly identical misconduct” in 2019.
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“The goals of the attorney disciplinary system include protecting the public from unfit attorneys, maintaining the integrity of the bar, and upholding the legal system,” wrote Tioga County District Judge Robert Repard, a member of the Disciplinary Board of the Supreme Court. of Pennsylvania, in the report.
“On this case, we conclude that the respondent’s multiple breaches of his obligations to his clients, combined with his disciplinary history, his lack of remorse and his refusal to accept his responsibility demonstrate that he is unfit to practice law. and poses a threat to the public,” he added.
Allen said he hadn’t seen the order yet. He said the disciplinary board failed to speak with four of the five clients.
“No one spoke to clients, and clients never complained about my portrayal,” Allen said.
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In one instance, Allen failed to show up for a pre-trial conference for a client who had intellectual and developmental disabilities. The man was facing charges of aggravated assault and strangulation, according to court documents.
Because he believed he was going to jail, according to court documents, the man became anxious, fearful and restless.
Allen then failed to show up for a hearing a judge set for him to explain his absence, according to court documents.
Later, Allen reported that he received no notice of this hearing. He also said he didn’t show up for the pre-trial because he filed an application on his client’s behalf for welfare court, according to court documents.
But Allen didn’t file that request until 11 days after the pre-trial conference, according to court documents, so his explanation was “false and misleading.”
York County Common Pleas Judge Craig T. Trebilcock found Allen guilty of direct criminal contempt and fined him $1,500. He didn’t pay anything.
Trebilcock filed a disciplinary complaint against Allen “due to his pattern of non-appearance at hearings and other proceedings,” according to court documents.
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During the disciplinary proceedings, Allen testified that he “just wanted to get it over with” and said he was “enough.”
“If you suspend my license, fine. If I go to jail, fine. I’ve had enough,” Allen testified. “It’s been 33 years and I’m just tired. I no longer have a fight in me.
Allen has represented clients including Charles Benjamin, who in 2021 did not dispute the abuse and neglect of five of his young children at a West York home that police described as a “house of horrors.”
Dylan Segelbaum is the courthouse reporter for the York Daily Record, part of the USA TODAY NETWORK. Reach him at [email protected], by phone at 717-916-3981 or on Twitter @dylan_segelbaum.