()

A Philadelphia attorney who was convicted on charges related to receiving a 243-pound shipment of marijuana has been disbarred by the state Supreme Court.

On Aug. 14, the court adopted the recommendation of its disciplinary board to disbar Samuel Foley Jr.

According to the board’s report, Foley accepted delivery of four packages containing 243 pounds of marijuana—with an estimated value of $486,000—from an undercover Philadelphia police officer disguised as a UPS delivery man.

Two years after his arrest, on June 30, 2011, Foley was convicted of one count of manufacture, delivery or possession of a controlled substance with intent to manufacture or deliver; one count of criminal conspiracy; one count of criminal use of a communication facility; and one count of intentional possession of a controlled substance by a person not registered.

According to the disciplinary board’s report, Foley was sentenced to 11-and-a-half to 23 months of house arrest and was ordered to pay a total of $2,742 in fines.

Foley, who the report said “is currently a priest in an African religion,” did not cooperate with law enforcement and lacked remorse for his conduct. Foley, the report said, claimed he “simply signed for a package” and “did no harm to the public.”

Foley “did the opposite of accepting responsibility: He blamed his conviction on others. He argues that he was ‘subjected to overzealous prosecution by the commonwealth, who was determined to convict in spite of the lack of evidence of respondent’s involvement in a criminal conspiracy,’” the report said.

Foley also blamed the judge and the legal system for not giving him a fair shake. However, the report noted that Foley appealed to the state Superior Court, which affirmed his conviction.

The report detailed that Foley understands he was convicted of a serious crime and is subject to discipline—he even suggested he be suspended for “a couple of years”—but he added, “That doesn’t mean I did what I was convicted of.”

Additionally, the report said the character witnesses who testified on Foley’s behalf at his disciplinary hearing were not compelling.

“The witnesses appeared to believe there was a conspiracy by some unknown entity or individual against [the] respondent, or that the packages were delivered by mistake,” the report said.

The board also noted that Foley’s lack of remorse, on top of his insistence that he did not commit the crimes for which he was convicted, did not help his case.

“Though he acknowledged his actions and testified that he was ‘very sorry to be in this position and the circumstances’ that brought him before the hearing committee, [the] respondent has not sincerely recognized the gravity of harm his convictions have brought to the reputation of the bar or the negative impact that his convictions have had on the public,” the report said. “There is no question that the refusal to acknowledge one’s guilt and a lack of remorse are aggravating factors that must be taken into account.”

Another aggravating factor was Foley’s refusal to cooperate with law enforcement in revealing the identity of the person for whom he accepted the marijuana, the report said.

Finally, the report noted that Foley’s testimony was not credible and added to the board’s decision to recommend disbarment.

According to the report, the hearing committee determined there were discrepancies in Foley’s testimony, “including his testimony as to suffering from an impaired sense of smell, which he had no documentation to prove, and his testimony that anyone in his office would have signed for packages that were delivered, which was opposite to the testimony given at criminal trial that only [he] and his son would accept and sign,” the report said.

With all of the aggravating factors in mind, the board gave “little weight” to the fact that Foley had no prior criminal or disciplinary history, the report said.

Foley did not return a call seeking comment.

P.J. D’Annunzio can be contacted at 215-557-2315 or pdannunzio@alm.com. Follow him on Twitter @PJDannunzioTLI.