Pennsylvania Supreme Court Responds to Attorney Baldwin’s Challenge to Reprimand
September 8, 2020
The following statement is released on behalf of Pennsylvania Supreme Court Justices Christine Donohue, Kevin Dougherty, David Wecht, and Sallie Mundy:
This statement responds to Attorney Cynthia Baldwin’s ongoing challenges, in the media, to her public reprimand due to her unpreparedness and incompetence in the representation provided during the grand jury proceedings involving former Pennsylvania State University administrators. That reprimand was unanimously directed by the four justices who participated in the decision.
Attorney Baldwin now claims that the disposition of her case was biased and unfair. To be clear, the Pennsylvania Supreme Court is ultimately responsible for the attorney discipline process in Pennsylvania. It was this Court that concluded, in a unanimous 70-page opinion, that Attorney Baldwin committed multiple breaches of our rules relating to attorney competence, conflicts of interest, client confidences, and the administration of justice. We imposed a lesser discipline than was recommended by the Disciplinary Board because of Attorney Baldwin’s age and the fact that she was no longer representing clients. A copy of the opinion can be found here: http://www.pacourts.us/assets/opinions/Supreme/out/J-63-2019MO.pdf?cb=1
All of Pennsylvania’s more than 60,000 attorneys are subject to the same rules of attorney conduct and the same enforcement procedures. All are afforded a right to respond to charges, a right to a full hearing, and the right to appeal to our Court. Attorney Baldwin was afforded all of these procedures, which in her case included a full hour of public oral argument before the Supreme Court. View the Supreme Court’s oral argument here.
Attorney Baldwin has seen fit to cast blame for her problems on everyone else involved in her case, including the Disciplinary Board, the Office of Disciplinary Counsel, the Superior Court and the individual clients. Attorney Baldwin’s failure to take responsibility for her errors now continues after she received her sanction.
Attorney Baldwin points now to the untested affidavit of a former senior judge regarding a disputed conversation with then-Justice Saylor more than seven years earlier, but she did not make that affidavit known to the justices who decided her case. Moreover, Chief Justice Saylor did not participate in the decision of her case.
The Court’s direction that Attorney Baldwin receive a public reprimand was based not on favoritism or bias, but solely on her professional and ethical failings as detailed in our unanimous opinion.
Media contact: Stacey Witalec, 717-877-2997