Tuesday, June 28, 2011

In Memoriam

From the web page of the Ohio Supreme Court:

Former Columbiana County Common Pleas Court Judge J. Warren Bettis, who served as Disciplinary Counsel for seven years in the late 1980s and early 90s, died Thursday in Salem. He was 86.

Born in Salineville on Oct. 24, 1924, Judge Bettis was a disabled World War II veteran who served in the Pacific. He was selected as honorary parade marshal of this year’s Salem Memorial Day event.

Retiring Board of Commissioners on Grievances & Discipline Secretary Jonathan Marshall called Judge Bettis a “great American” for going ashore as a young Marine during the invasion of Iwo Jima.

Judge Bettis graduated from The Ohio State University, Xavier University and the Salmon P. Chase College of Law at Northern Kentucky University with a law degree. He served with the Public Utilities Commission of Ohio from 1963 to 1965, as Columbiana County prosecutor from 1965 to 1971, and as common pleas judge from 1971 to 1986.

He served with the Office of Disciplinary Counsel from October 1986 to September 1993 and in September and October 1997.

The Supreme Court of Ohio has the constitutional responsibility to oversee the practice of law in the state and has one of the most comprehensive disciplinary systems of any state in the nation. The Court has established three offices: Office of Disciplinary Counsel, Board of Commissioners on Grievances & Discipline, and the Clients’ Security Fund to exercise independent authority to assist the Court in meeting its responsibility as set forth in Section 5(b), Article IV, of the Ohio Constitution.

The Office of Disciplinary Counsel is authorized by the Supreme Court to investigate allegations and initiate complaints concerning misconduct, mental illness or substance abuse by attorneys and judges under the Ohio Rules of Professional Conduct and the Code of Judicial Conduct and to investigate and prosecute complaints under the rules governing the unauthorized practice of law.

Judge Bettis continued to serve the legal system well into his 80s. He served as a retired assigned judge in the Court of Claims of Ohio from 1993 to 2004, then as a magistrate from 2005 to 2007.

(Mike Frisch)

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