Legal Ethics

Accepting 243-pound pot shipment from undercover cop leads to lawyer's disbarment

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A Philadelphia lawyer who signed for a shipment of four packages containing 243 pounds of marijuana has been disbarred.

Samuel Foley Jr. was disbarred by the Pennsylvania Supreme Court in an Aug. 14 order (PDF). The Legal Intelligencer (sub. req.) and the Legal Profession Blog have stories.

Foley had maintained he simply signed for the packages and he did not harm the public, according to the report by the Supreme court’s disciplinary board. He was sentenced to up to 23 months of house arrest after he was convicted in the incident. The marijuana in the four packages, delivered by an undercover police officer posing as a delivery man, had an estimated value of $486,000.

The report said Foley “did the opposite of accepting responsibility” for his action when he blamed his conviction on an “overzealous prosecution” that took place though there was no evidence of his involvement in a criminal conspiracy. He did not assist law enforcement, the report said, and showed no remorse for his actions.

The report also found discrepancies in Foley’s testimony at the disciplinary hearing, “including his testimony as to suffering from an impaired sense of smell, which he had no documentation to prove.”

Character witnesses who testified on Foley’s behalf at the disciplinary hearing didn’t help his case. According to the disciplinary board report, they “also appeared to believe there was a conspiracy by some unknown entity or individual against [Foley], or that the packages were delivered by mistake.”

Foley was convicted in a 2011 bench trial of criminal conspiracy; possession of a controlled substance with intent to manufacture or deliver; criminal use of a communication facility; and intentional possession of a controlled substance.

Updated at 1:10 p.m. to delete repeated words.

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