Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Ten Days After

A summary from Bret Crow on the web page of the Ohio Supreme Court

The  Supreme Court of Ohio today overturned a judicial campaign conduct violation  against an Akron judge.

Earlier  this year, a five-judge commission upheld a hearing panel’s finding that Summit  County Probate Court Judge Elinore Marsh Stormer violated Jud.Cond.R. 4.4(E).  At the time of Stomer’s conduct, the rule prohibited a judicial candidate from  participating in or receiving campaign contributions from a tiered judicial  fundraising event. However, a rule change eliminating the prohibition became  effective Jan. 1, 2013.

Judge  Stormer’s opponent in the probate court race, Summit County Common Pleas Court  Judge Alison McCarty, brought the complaint based on a 2012 fund-raising event  in which contributions were categorized and recognized by amounts.

The  Board of Commissioners on Grievances & Discipline certified the complaint  on Oct. 23, 2012. A three-commissioner hearing panel of the board heard the  case on Oct. 29, 2012 and filed its report and recommendation with the Supreme  Court to find a violation and sanction Stormer on Nov. 5, 2012. The Supreme  Court appointed a five-judge commission on Nov. 9, 2012, which filed its  decision on Jan. 10, 2013. Stormer appealed the commission’s decision to the  Supreme Court on Jan. 29, 2013.

The  Supreme Court noted in its per curiam (not authored by one justice) opinion  today that “it appears that Stormer is the only judicial candidate to be  formally charged with a violation of former Jud.Cond.R. 4.4(E) in the 17 years  that it was in effect. The commission’s finding that she violated the rule did  not come until January 10, 2013 – ten days after the rule was abrogated.”

“In  light of these unusual circumstances, the absence of any need to deter future  conduct of this nature, whether committed by Stormer or any other judicial  candidate, and Stomer’s exemplary record during her more than 30 years of legal  practice, more than 20 of which have been spent on the bench, we conclude the  no sanction is warranted,” the opinion concludes.

The  court further concluded that Stormer did not “knowingly” violate the former  rule and that not every violation warrants the imposition of discipline given  the many factors at play in individual cases. The court also ordered the Office  of Attorney Services to remove the violation from Stormer’s record.

The opinion is linked here. (Mike Frisch)

http://lawprofessors.typepad.com/legal_profession/2013/10/a-summary-from-the-web-page-of-the-ohio-supreme-court-the-supreme-court-of-ohio-today-overturned-a-judicial-campaign-conduct.html

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