WILKES-BARRE — Lawyer Anthony J. Moses’s latest legal issue prevents him from dealing with other people’s legal issues.
The Kingston attorney, who is facing charges in connection with an August car crash in which he allegedly had Xanax and methadone in his system, is one of three local lawyers who has been suspended by the state Supreme Court for failing to pay a $130 annual registration fee.
The court’s orders against Moses, Hazle Township attorney James R. Scallion and Hanover Township attorney Ronald J. Wydo were filed Wednesday in Luzerne County Court, following recommendations from the Disciplinary Board of the Supreme Court of Pennsylvania.
Under Rule 219 of the Pennsylvania Rules of Disciplinary Enforcement, all lawyers admitted to practice law in the commonwealth must pay the annual fee and register with the state’s Attorney Registration Office. The trio failed to comply with that rule, according to the orders, which were dated Sept. 18 and took effect one month later, on Friday. The orders were filed in Luzerne County Court on Wednesday.
Efforts to reach Moses and Scallion were unsuccessful.
Wydo said he has essentially been retired for four years, but “kept paying my dues.” Under Rule 219, retired attorneys are exempt from paying the annual fee.
“I called them about a week, two weeks ago, and told them I would be sending (my retirement papers) in,” said Wydo, 77, who began practicing law in 1965.
According to the Disciplinary Board, Moses was admitted to practice on April 12, 2010, while Scallion was admitted on June 18, 1993.
The $130 annual fee and registration are supposed to be filed by July 1. Failing that, a late penalty is set on July 31. A second penalty is automatically added if no action is taken by Aug. 31, “at which time the continued failure to comply with this rule shall be deemed a request to be administratively suspended.”
The Attorney Registration Office then forwards to the state Supreme Court the names of attorneys who have failed to comply, and the court enters an order for administrative suspension.
Moses’ apparent failure to register is only the latest of his problems.
He was charged by summons with two counts of driving under the influence of drugs, in addition to one count each of damaging an unattended vehicle, driving the wrong way and unauthorized use of a license plate in connection with an Aug. 23 wreck in which he allegedly drove his Mercedes-Benz into some bushes, possibly a telephone pole and then a van on a one-way street in Plymouth.
A police affidavit said no narcotics were found in the car, but blood tests conducted later at Wilkes-Barre General Hospital revealed two controlled substances in Moses’ system: Xanax, a brand-name version of Alprazolam, which commonly is used to treat anxiety disorders; and Dolophine, a brand-name prescription opioid drug, containing methadone, which is used to treat narcotics addiction as well as being used as a pain reliever.
According to court documents, a preliminary hearing is set for 1:30 p.m. Nov. 6.