Salem prosecutors want Mass. lawyer removed from drug case
SALEM — A Massachusetts lawyer representing an alleged drug dealer failed to disclose to a judge that he is facing disciplinary proceedings in his home state, prompting concerns about his handling of bail funds and once posting $8,000 of his own money to bail out another drug suspect he never represented.
Prosecutors are asking that the lawyer be removed from the case against Julio Encarnacion Geraldo, who was arrested as part of a roundup of drug suspects in Manchester and Salem last week that reaped 463 Oxycodone pills, 32 grams of heroin and $40,000 in cash.
Geraldo, 36, of Lawrence, Mass., is facing charges of possession with intent to distribute a controlled drug and conspiracy to sell a controlled drug.
He was apprehended inside the Sears store at the Mall at Rockingham Park last Tuesday around 1 p.m. by Salem, Manchester and state police. The disciplinary proceedings against Geraldo's lead attorney, Ernest Solomon, of Fitchburg, Mass., involve misappropriating another client's bail money for his own use, charging an excessive fee and failure to keep his client informed, according to a petition by the Massachusetts Board of Bar Overseers.
Salem prosecutor Jason Grosky also voiced concerns in a request filed Wednesday about an unrelated court proceeding in which Solomon posted $8,000 of his own money for bail of a drug suspect who he did not represent.
The suspect, Juan Bautista, was released on bail in Worcester County, Mass., in January 2009 and promptly deported by Immigration Customs Enforcement to the Dominican Republic, bringing criminal charges in the drug case to a sudden dead end, according to court records.
Geraldo is being held on $15,000 cash bail on the Salem drug charges. He is required to show a judge where his bail money is coming from during a source-of-funds hearing. Reached by phone on Wednesday afternoon, Solomon refused to comment on the prosecution's effort to have him removed from the case, and told a reporter to "have a great day" before hanging up.
Solomon was allowed by Judge John Korbey to represent Geraldo at his arraignment in 10th Circuit Court in Salem last week alongside with Manchester attorney Kenneth Bernard.
But Solomon failed to report his ongoing disciplinary proceedings in Massachusetts to Korbey in a petition that out-of-state lawyers are required to present to a judge, Grosky said in his request.
Grosky suggested that the lack of disclosure should also call into question whether Bernard should remain on the case as well.
"As in-state counsel, Attorney Bernard vouched for Attorney Solomon before this court and filed a motion on his behalf," Grosky said. "To whatever degree Attorney Bernard was to ensure compliance with court rules, it did not happen."
Bernard did not return a phone call on Wednesday seeking comment.
Both attorneys are expected to appear Thursday morning with Geraldo for a probable cause hearing in 10th Circuit Court in Salem.