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By TERRIE MORGAN-BESECKER; Times Leader Staff Writer

Thursday, May 14, 1998     Page: 4A

WILKES-BARRE- Local defense attorney Gerald Deady has resigned from the Pennsylvania bar, ending a 15-year legal career highlighted by victories in several high-profile homicide cases.
    The resignation comes nearly one year after Deady was suspended from practicing law for failing to complete required continuing education courses.
    At the time, Deady said he was attempting to fulfill the requirement, but indicated he might give up practicing law entirely.
    Deady, of West Pittston, resigned from the bar effective April 3, according to a court order filed Wednesday in Luzerne County Court of Common Pleas. The order from the state Supreme Court said Deady has been "disbarred on consent."
    Deady could not be reached for comment Wednesday. In an interview in September, he said he was "burned out" and was not sure if he wanted to continue practicing law.
    Deady was known as a tireless advocate for his clients. He won new trials for two Luzerne County men charged with homicide, and convinced an appellate court to overturn the death sentence of a third man convicted of murder.
    "Jerry is the quickest, most creative legal mind I've ever met," said Joseph Cosgrove, a local defense attorney who worked with Deady on the case of Brian Smith of Hazleton.
    Smith was sentenced to die for the 1991 murder of an infant. Deady, who was appointed to handle Smith's appeals, convinced the state Supreme Court to overturn the death sentence based on a claim Smith's trial attorney was ineffective.
    "It's very hard to have a case overturned on an ineffective counsel claim, but Jerry did it," Cosgrove said. "That was Jerry's genius."
    Smith was to be retried on the death penalty phase last month. The district attorney's office abandoned those plans after experts determined Smith is mentally ill. He is serving a life sentence without possibility of parole.
    Deady also won new trials for Richard Gaffney and Joseph O'Boyle. Gaffney was found guilty in 1988 of killing a woman with his car while he was driving drunk. O'Boyle was found guilty that same year of murdering his mother. Both men were found guilty of the charges in their retrials.
    Basil Russin, head of the Luzerne County public defender's office, also lauded Deady's legal skills.
    "He was a very hard worker and very imaginative lawyer. He would take something where there was no hope and have an imaginative defense or theory to pursue," Russin said.
    It was unclear Wednesday what will happen with any cases Deady may still have pending. Deady's attorney, Mort Gordon of Hazleton, had been helping with Deady's cases while he was suspended. Gordon did not return a phone message seeking comment Wednesday.
    Gerald Deady
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