Criminal Conviction of Funeral Director Escalates Into Civil Lawsuit and Professional Risks

Posted by Joseph D. Lento | Jun 07, 2024 | 0 Comments

On March 20, 2024, a funeral director in Allegheny County was found guilty of abusing a corpse by leaving it out to decay for over a week. Michael Aldrich, the guilty party, worked as a funeral director since 1977 and did not have a previous criminal record. The judge in Aldrich's case noted that his actions were not typical for this type of crime but still supported the abuse of corpse misdemeanor conviction. 

Whether you are a funeral director, healthcare worker, or educator, you may end up facing criminal charges in the course of your work. When your future is at risk, the LLF Law Firm can help. Our Criminal Defense Team can guide you during the stressful criminal process and help craft a defense that protects you from the charges as well as allegations of misconduct or rule-breaking. Contact us today at 888.535.3686 or fill out our online contact form to get started. 

Professionals at Risk of Criminal Charges, Civil Litigation, and License Sanctions 

The criminal charges against Aldrich related to a specific law and its interpretation. Despite his conviction, he is expected to avoid jail time and receive only probation for his actions. His lawyer argued that the law was intended to punish those who abuse or mutilate a corpse, not someone who makes a mistake or is involved in a confusing situation. Aldrich, for example, was initially hired by a family for his services, but they decided to hire a different funeral director, causing delays that led to the decomposition. 

As a licensed funeral director in Pennsylvania during the time of the crime, Aldrich was bound by specific rules and regulations governing funeral directing in the state. Like many professionals, funeral directors must adhere to high standards of conduct both legally and ethically. Aldrich is now facing a civil lawsuit regarding his actions, with the family of the deceased's attorney claiming that the public places trust in funeral directors to respect and care for the bodies of loved ones. The Pennsylvania State Board of Funeral Directors can also sanction licenses depending on the severity of license holders' criminal convictions. 

Funeral directors aren't the only professionals who may face criminal charges, civil lawsuits, and license sanctions. In Pennsylvania, notable professions that may be at risk include: 

  • Healthcare workers 
  • Lawyers 
  • Educators 
  • Pharmacists 
  • Social workers 
  • Advisors 

If you are a Pennsylvania professional facing charges like Aldrich, you don't know how a conviction will affect your future. Like the Board of Funeral Directors, your licensing board may impose sanctions on your license after a criminal conviction. Similarly, a criminal conviction over actions you took in the course of your work may escalate into a civil lawsuit, as it did in Aldrich's case. Lawyers may be able to use a criminal conviction as further evidence of wrongdoing during civil proceedings. Even if a guilty verdict in your criminal proceedings will only result in probation or minimal punishment, it is imperative to prevent guilty verdicts whenever possible to limit the harm they can do to other areas of your life. 

Defend Yourself Against Criminal Charges With the LLF Law Firm 

If you are facing criminal charges because of something you did during your line of work, you need experienced legal representation that can vigorously defend your actions and prevent a guilty verdict. The Criminal Defense Team at The LLF Law Firm can help Pennsylvania professionals when they are facing allegations of criminal activity or misconduct. Call us today at 888.535.3686 or get in touch through our online form to start working on your defense. 

About the Author

Joseph D. Lento

"I pride myself on having heart and driving hard to get results!" Attorney Joseph D. Lento passionately fights for the futures of his clients in criminal courtrooms in Philadelphia and across Pennsylvania as well as in New Jersey and nationwide. He does not settle for the easiest outcome, and instead prioritizes his clients' needs and well-being. With unparalleled experience occupying several roles in the criminal justice system outside of being an attorney, Joseph D. Lento can give you valuable behind-the-scenes insight as to what is happening during all phases of the legal process. Joseph D. Lento is licensed in Pennsylvania, New Jersey, and New York, and is admitted pro hac vice as needed nationwide. In the courtroom and in life, attorney Joseph D. Lento stands up when the bell rings!


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The LLF Law Firm Team has decades of experience successfully resolving clients' criminal charges in Philadelphia and the Pennsylvania counties. If you are having any uncertainties about what the future may hold for you or a loved one, contact the LLF Law Firm today! Our Criminal Defense Team will go above and beyond the needs of any client, and will fight until the final bell rings.

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