Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Former Public Official Suspended For Obscenity Conviction

The web page of the Ohio Supreme Court reports:

The Supreme Court of Ohio today suspended the law license of [an] attorney and former Cuyahoga County Recorder...for two years based on his felony conviction for transportation and importation of obscene materials in violation of federal law.

[The attorney] has been under an interim license suspension since December 2008, when the Court was notified that he entered a guilty plea and was convicted of violating  Section 1462(a), Title 18 of the U.S. Code, which prohibits “the use of an interactive computer service for the carriage in interstate or international commerce of numerous obscene ... pictures, writings and other matters of indecent character.”  The bill of information charging [his] offense, issued two days after he entered into a plea agreement with federal prosecutors, did not specify the nature of the material found on two of his home computers, but indicated that the illegal conduct leading to the charge against him was committed between February 1998 and November 2004.

[The attorney] resigned from public office in May 2008 and was sentenced to 15 months in prison followed by a three-year term of federal supervised release.

In today’s decision, a 4-2 majority of the Court adopted a finding by the  Board of Commissioners on Grievances & Discipline that [he] had engaged in conduct that adversely reflects on his fitness to practice law, but rejected the board’s recommendation that he receive a 12-month license suspension with credit for the time served under his interim suspension. The Court voted instead to impose a two-year license suspension with credit for time served, with the condition that [he] may not apply for reinstatement prior to completion of his term of supervised release.

The majority opinion was joined by Justices Paul E. Pfeifer, Maureen O’Connor, Terrence O’Donnell and Robert R. Cupp.  Justice Evelyn Lundeberg Stratton entered a dissent, joined by Justice Judith Ann Lanzinger, stating that she would impose the sanction recommended by the disciplinary board, a 12-month suspension with credit for time served under interim suspension. Chief Justice Eric Brown did not participate in the Court’s deliberations or decision in the case.

The opinion is linked here. (Mike Frisch)


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