May 20, 2014
In the Matter of Peter D.W. Heberling, an attorney and counselor-at-law: Departmental Disciplinary Committee for the First Judicial Department, Petitioner, Peter D.W. Heberling, Respondent
M--912 - March 31, 2014
This decision is subject to revision before publication in the New York reporter.
Jorge Dopico, Chief Counsel, Departmental Disciplinary Committee, New York, (Raymond Vallejo, of counsel), for petitioner.
Angela M. Mazzarelli, Justice Presiding, David Friedman, Leland G. DeGrasse, Helen E. Freedman, Barbara R. Kapnick, Justices.
Disciplinary proceedings instituted by the Departmental Disciplinary Committee for the First Judicial Department. Respondent, Peter D.W. Heberling, was admitted [986 N.Y.S.2d 331] to the Bar of the State of New York at a Term of the Appellate Division of the Supreme Court for the First Judicial Department on March 14, 1977.
Respondent Peter D.W. Heberling was admitted to the practice of law in the State of New York by the First Judicial Department on March 14, 1977, and at all times relevant to these proceedings, has maintained an office for the practice of law within the First Judicial Department.
On March 13, 2013, respondent pleaded guilty in Supreme Court, Bronx County, to one count of attempted dissemination of indecent material to minors in the first degree, in violation of Penal Law § § 110.00 and 235.22, a class E felony.
On October 31, 2013, respondent was sentenced to a period of probation of five years, and required to register as a sex offender, and pay various fees and surcharges.
The Departmental Disciplinary Committee now seeks an order striking respondent's name from the roll of attorneys pursuant to Judiciary Law § 90(4)(b) on the ground that he has been automatically disbarred upon his conviction of a felony, as defined by Judiciary Law § 90(4)(e) ( Matter of Chilewich, 20 A.D.3d 109, 795 N.Y.S.2d 232 [1st Dept 2005]; Matter of Weissman, 5 A.D.3d 28, 771 N.Y.S.2d 886 [1st Dept 2004]; Matter of Christiansen, 220 A.D.2d 98, 642 N.Y.S.2d 24 [1st Dept 1996]).
Respondent was served with this motion but no response has been submitted to the Court.
Having been convicted of a " criminal offense classified as a felony under the laws of this state" ( see Judiciary Law § 90(4)[e]), respondent automatically ceased to be an attorney by operation of law upon entry of his guilty plea and, therefore, his name should be stricken from the roll of attorneys pursuant to Judiciary Law § 90(4)(b) ( see Matter of Genger, 79 A.D.3d 186, 915 N.Y.S.2d 17 [1st Dept 2010]; [attorney automatically disbarred for conviction of attempted disseminating indecent materials to minors in first degree]; Matter of Stark, 309 A.D.2d 4, 764 N.Y.S.2d 687 [1st Dept 2003]; [same]; Matter of Kabas, 30 A.D.3d 34, 814 N.Y.S.2d 661 [2d Dept 2006]; [same]; Matter of Paladino, 291 A.D.2d 127, 739 N.Y.S.2d 288 [2d Dept 2002]; [attorney automatically disbarred for convictions of sodomy and disseminating indecent materials to minors]).
Accordingly, the Committee's petition should be granted to the extent of striking respondent's name from the roll of attorneys and counselors-at-law in the State of New York nunc pro tunc to March 13, 2013.
Order filed. [May 20, 2014];
Mazzarelli, J.P., Friedman, DeGrasse, Freedman, and Kapnick, JJ.
Respondent disbarred and his name stricken from the roll of attorneys and counselors-at-law in the State of New York, nunc pro tunc to March 13, 2013.