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Pennsylvania Lawyer Suspended for Influencing Judge Reinstated

March 16, 2020, 6:29 PM

A Pennsylvania lawyer suspended on consent for five years in 2017 over attempts to illegally influence a judge will be able to practice again after the state’s highest court accepted his petition for reinstatement.

The Supreme Court of Pennsylvania said that Harry Vincent Cardoni’s reinstatement “will be neither detrimental to the integrity and standing of the bar nor subversive of the public interest,” in its March 12 opinion.

Cardoni was suspended in 2017, retroactive to 2010.

In 2010, Cardoni self-reported to the Office of Disciplinary Counsel that he violated ethics rules. After an investigation, the office determined he violated a rule that prohibits trying to illegally influence a judge.

The Kingston, Pennsylvania, attorney admitted he’d gifted several items, including use of his beach house, to Luzerne County Court of Common Pleas Judge Michael T. Toole in exchange for Toole’s appointment of a favorable arbitrator, the court said.

Several years later, the judge appointed such an arbitrator in Cardoni’s insurance arbitration case, it said. Cardoni’s client was awarded $1 million in that case.

Cardoni ultimately paid back $700,000 of the award and helped the federal government with its investigation of the judge, which resulted in Toole’sconviction for filing a false return and for corrupt receipt of a reward for official action.

After reviewing letters from attorneys supporting Cardoni’s reinstatement as well as Cardoni’s actions during his suspension, which included taking continuing legal educations classes and caring for elderly family members, the court decided to reinstate him.

It noted that Cardoni said he wanted to practice pro bono for former clients and that he called his misconduct “the most egregious error” in his life.

He’s demonstrated by “clear and convincing evidence that he has the moral qualifications, competency and learning in the law required for admission to practice of law in this commonwealth,” the court said.

The case is In re Cardoni, Pa., No. 210 DB 2010, 3/12/20.

To contact the reporter on this story: Melissa Heelan Stanzione in Washington at mstanzione@bloomberglaw.com

To contact the editors responsible for this story: Jessie Kokrda Kamens at jkamens@bloomberglaw.com; Rebekah Mintzer at rmintzer@bloomberglaw.com; Andrew Harris at aharris@bloomberglaw.com

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