The Rittenhouse Review

A Philadelphia Journal of Politics, Finance, Ethics, and Culture

Monday, February 28, 2005  

Then . . . Ask the Court to Go Easy

File under, what? A special place in hell? That special place having been reserved for one Dennis O’Brien, a man so greedy, so thoughtless, that he ripped off the estate the widowered and now-deceased father of an autistic, Stanley Mich, who worked for years to save for the extended, the life-long, care of his son, Ronnie Mich.

The Philadelphia Inquirer today reports, in “Ex-lawyer Plans to Ask for Reduced Prison Term,” by Edward Colimore:

A disbarred Camden County lawyer who was sentenced to 18 years in prison for stealing $2.76 million from clients, including an autistic man, will ask an appeals panel March 8 to reduce his jail time.

Dennis O’Brien, who built a practice around a reputation as a churchgoing family man, wants the judges to consider his cooperation in repaying his 39 victims.

None of the former clients have yet received money from the liquidation of O’Brien’s assets, though more than $750,000 is likely to be amassed by a court-appointed special master for disbursement.

Quick math: $750,000 / $2,760,000 = 27 percent.

Mr. Colimore of the Inquirer continues:

O’Brien, 62, of Haddon Heights [N.J.], pleaded guilty in August 2003 to two counts of theft. One accused him of stealing about $850,000 from the estate of Stanley Mich of Audubon [N.J.], who had left the money for the care of his autistic son.

The son, Ronnie Mich, now 62, had been used to a life of familiar surroundings but was forced to sell his house and move into an adult group home for the disabled. [Ed.: “His house” here refers to the home of Stanley Mich, who scrimped and saved to ensure that property was available in perpetuity to his son.]

Mich later received $150,000 from the Fund for Client Protection and tens of thousands of dollars in donations from the public. [...]

[O’Brien] was ordered then to forfeit his law license and pay $269,000 in restitution. He was sentenced to four years in prison on that offense, to be completed concurrently with the 18 years. [...]

O’Brien’s attorney, Robert Agre, will appear before the appeals panel March 8 to argue for a reduced sentence.

Mr. Colimore of the Inquirer doesn’t address the matter specifically, but Mr. Agre, of Adinolfi & Spveak, P.A., Haddonfield, N.J. (A “family law practice,” they say!) presumably will show up in court undisguised, as is his choice and, presumably, wont.

The Inquirer reporter continues:

“The principal mitigating factor is his cooperation,” Agre said. The panel “would have to decide whether [State Superior Court] Judge [Linda G.] Baxter gave it proper weight.”

Agre said the judges could affirm Baxter’s decision, resentence O’Brien, or return the matter to Baxter for reconsideration of the sentence.

The nerve. That’s all I have to say at this point about Mr. O’Brien. The nerve. Oh wait, and the gall. The unmitigated gall.

| HOME |

The Rittenhouse Review | Copyright 2002-2006 | PERMALINK |