BELEAGUERED LAWYER RESIGNS FROM PA. BAR
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
"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.