Saturday, October 27, 2007
The Ohio Supreme Court suspended a Mason County judge for 18 months, with six months stayed, based on findings that he had "directed intemperate and degrading remarks toward parties and attorneys, attempted to coerce prosecutors, defense attorneys and defendants into plea agreements and used his judicial powers to humiliate courtroom participants." Among the incidents recounted in the decision: placing a call to a defendant's alleged drug dealer in open court and refusing to return a cane to a handicapped defendant. The judge asserted in mitigation that he suffers from narcissistic personality disorder, which the court gave little weight because there was insufficient evidence that he was recovering from the condition.
In an unrelated matter, the court suspended a former judge for two years, with one year stayed, based on findings of 40 violations of the rules of judicial conduct and 12 violations of the rules of professional conduct, including failure to render rulings in a timely manner and intemperate and unprofessional verbal confrontations. Money quotes: "if you don't like it, you can appeal me" and "every law was made to be moved around." The court rejected the suggestion that professional discipline should not be imposed because the judge had lost a bid for reelection.
The link to the court's summaries provide a link to the court's decisions in the two cases. (Mike Frisch)