July 21, 2010
Former Judge Suspended For Misconduct On Bench
The web page of the Ohio Supreme Court reports;
[A f]ormer Portage County Municipal Court Judge...has been suspended from the practice of law for one year, with the final six months of that term stayed, for violations of the Code of Judicial Conduct and Rules of Professional Conduct during his service on the bench. [His] latest term of office expired on Dec. 31, 2009. He did not seek reelection.
The Supreme Court adopted findings by the Board of Commissioners on Grievances and Discipline that on multiple occasions over a period of several years [he] failed to dispose of judicial matters promptly, efficiently and fairly; failed to diligently discharge his administrative duties without bias; engaged in ex parte communication with a prosecutor in a case before his court; engaged in conduct that was prejudicial to the administration of justice and engaged in intemperate behavior during court proceedings that undermined public confidence in the impartiality and integrity of the judiciary.
The Court agreed with the board’s conclusions that [he] committed 10 violations of the Code of Judicial Conduct and four violations of the Code of Professional Responsibility, and adopted the board-recommended sanction of a one-year suspension with six months of that term stayed.
The Court’s 5-1 per curiam opinion was joined by Justices Paul E. Pfeifer, Evelyn Lundberg Stratton, Terrence O’Donnell, Judith Ann Lanzinger and Robert R. Cupp. Justice Maureen O’Connor dissented, stating that she would impose a one-year license suspension.
Chief Justice Eric Brown did not participate in the court’s deliberations or decision in this case.
The opinion is linked here. (Mike Frisch)
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