Thursday, July 15, 2010

Judging A Judge

From the web page of the Ohio Supreme Court:

The Supreme Court of Ohio today suspended the law license of [a] Van Wert Municipal Court Judge...for 12 months, with the final six months of that term stayed on conditions, for multiple violations of the Code of Judicial Conduct and Code of Professional Responsibility.

The Court adopted findings by the Board of Commissioners on Grievances & Discipline that between 2003 and 2007 Campbell engaged in professional misconduct that included allegedly improper investigation of a criminal matter then pending in his court; failure to act in a patient, dignified, and courteous manner; use of his position as a judge to pressure persons into action; improper handling of proceedings to appoint counsel for indigent defendants; failure to act in a manner that promotes public confidence in the integrity and impartiality of the judiciary; and failure to faithfully follow the law. 

In imposing the board-recommended sanction of a 12-month suspension with six months stayed, the Court cited incidents in which [the judge] used his judicial authority to improperly question witnesses in a police investigation, pressured the city law director’s secretary to give him criminal investigation files to which he was not entitled, denied appointed counsel to qualified indigent defendants, and compelled the mayor of Van Wert to appear in his courtroom and be questioned about an administrative matter not before the court.

The court’s 6-0 per curiam decision was joined by Justices Paul E. Pfeifer, Evelyn Lundberg Stratton, Maureen O’Connor, Terrence O’Donnell, Judith Ann Lanzinger and Robert R. Cupp.

Chief Justice Eric Brown did not participate in the court’s deliberations or decision in this case.

The opinion is linked here. (Mike Frisch)

Judicial Ethics and the Courts | Permalink

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