Tuesday, June 20, 2017

Indefinite Suspension In Ohio

From the web page of the Ohio Supreme Court

A Kent attorney who pleaded guilty to 20 fourth-degree felony counts of pandering sexually oriented material involving a minor was suspended indefinitely by the Ohio Supreme Court today.

Andrew O. Martyniuk admitted in 2014 that he knowingly solicited, received, purchased, exchanged, possessed, and controlled child pornography. He was sentenced to five years in prison, which was suspended on the condition that he serve five years of community control, pay a $5,000 fine plus court costs, complete a sex-offender evaluation, and register as a Tier II sex offender for 25 years. In a per curiam opinion, the Court majority noted Martyniuk never actively engaged in the practice of law.

Martyniuk Was Library Staff Member Before Arrest

At his disciplinary hearing, Martyniuk testified that after he was honorably discharged from the U.S. Air Force in 1992, he served as a research associate at the University of Cincinnati during and after completing law school. He said he drafted several powers of attorney for people he knew through church, but never charged for his services, and then moved into his parent’s home in Kent in 2003. He worked as a fiscal officer for the Kent Free Library until he was fired in 2013 when his employer discovered pornography on his office computer.

Since his arrest he has been the primary caretaker of his elderly parents, and expressed to the Board of Professional Conduct a desire to practice law.

“He has presented no evidence regarding a mental-health diagnosis or his ability to engage in the competent, ethical, and professional practice of law, either now or in the future,” the Court’s opinion stated.

Others Suspended for Sexually Motivated Crimes Involving Children
Based on the conviction, the Office of Disciplinary Counsel brought several charges against Martyniuk for violating the rules governing Ohio attorneys. The board recommended an indefinite suspension with no credit for the time served under an interim suspension imposed by the Court following his felony convictions.

The opinion noted that the board considers several issues before recommending a sanction, including aggravating circumstances that can increase a penalty and mitigating factors that can lessen it. The sole aggravating factor the board found was that Martyniuk committed multiple offenses. The board also found that Martyniuk had no prior disciplinary record, self-reported his conviction to the disciplinary counsel, cooperated during disciplinary proceedings, and was penalized for his conduct.

The Court cited three other instances where attorneys convicted of sexually motivated crimes involving children were indefinitely suspended and found the sanction was appropriate for Martyniuk.

Chief Justice Maureen O’Connor and Justices Sharon L. Kennedy, Judith L. French, William M. O’Neill, and R. Patrick DeWine joined the majority opinion.

Justice Terrence O’Donnell stated he would permanently disbar Martyniuk. Justice Patrick F. Fischer did not participate in the decision.

2016-1821. Disciplinary Counsel v. Martyniuk, Slip Opinion No. 2017-Ohio-4329.

The above summary was written by Dan Trevas. (Mike Frisch)


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