Saturday, January 6, 2018
The Ohio Supreme Court has declined to admit two bar applicants.
One application matter involved a Capital University Law graduate who had been dismissed from an internship
The panel found that Washington had engaged in two isolated incidents of dishonesty involving the inaccurate recording of work hours during her DAS internship but recommended that she be permitted to sit for the Ohio bar examination. On February 6, 2016, however, the board remanded the matter to the panel for further investigation.
On May 11, 2017, the panel conducted a second hearing, during which it heard testimony from the human-resources administrator at DAS and two DAS employees who supervised Washington during her internship. According to their testimony, on four occasions, Washington’s supervisors observed her arriving or leaving for the day at a time different from the time recorded on her timesheet. Although Washington did not testify at the second hearing, she had definitively testified during the first panel hearing that the inaccurate recordkeeping occurred on two occasions.
On June 5, 2017, the panel issued a supplemental report and recommendation. The panel described the evidence adduced at the second hearing and noted the inconsistency between the DAS employees’ testimony and Washington’s testimony at the first hearing. In addition, the panel emphasized Washington’s nonresponsiveness after the first hearing. The panel had attempted to contact Washington five times between the first and second hearing—via certified mail, e-mail, and voicemail—but she never responded, and she did not appear at the second hearing. Citing this complete failure to communicate or to cooperate in the proceedings after the first hearing, the panel recommended that we disapprove Washington’s pending application but permit her to reapply in the future.
we agree with the board that Washington has failed to carry her burden of proving by clear and convincing evidence that she possesses the requisite character, fitness, and moral qualifications for admission to the bar at this time. However, consistently with the board’s recommendation, we will permit Washington to file a new application to register as a candidate for admission to the practice of law and to apply to take the July 2018 bar exam. Upon reapplication, Washington will be required to undergo a complete character-and-fitness investigation, including an investigation and report by the National Conference of Bar Examiners, and demonstrate that she possesses the requisite character, fitness, and moral qualifications for admission to the practice of law in Ohio.
Justice O'Donnell would make the appilcant wait an additional year.
A graduate of the University of Dayton School of Law had these issues leading to denial
The panel initially focused on Winwood’s past criminal conduct. It carefully considered five juvenile offenses that he committed as a teenager in the early to mid-1980s. The panel also considered several misdemeanor offenses that Winwood committed as a young adult, the last of which occurred in 2001. Because all of those offenses occurred many years ago, however, the panel concluded that they offered little insight into Winwood’s present character. Indeed, the panel noted that Winwood has had only a few minor brushes with the law in the last 16 years— two traffic violations and a civil case arising from a traffic accident—none of which raise significant concerns about his present character, fitness, or moral qualifications.
Although the panel acknowledged that Winwood has led a law abiding life for many years, it expressed grave concern about his failure to disclose his criminal history on his 1996 and 2011 applications to the University of Dayton School of Law. At the hearing, Winwood acknowledged that he had affirmatively concealed his criminal record from the law school, in part due to his realization that full disclosure may have barred his admission. He testified that during his second year of law school, one of his law-school professors advised him to amend his law school application to disclose all of his past criminal conduct. Despite receiving that advice in 2012, Winwood continued to attend classes and graduated in August 2014 without making any effort to amend his application. Moreover, he made no effort to amend his law-school application when he disclosed his past criminal conduct as part of the bar-admissions process in July 2016. Instead, he waited until April 2017—about 90 days before the bar exam he hoped to take—to “come clean”
with the law school. When asked to explain his delay, Winwood stated that he “was building up to it, summoning [his] courage to finally put the past away and come clean with” the law school. The panel did not find his explanation compelling.
we disapprove Winwood’s pending applications, and consistently with the panel’s recommendation, we will permit him to reapply for the July 2018 or a later bar exam by filing new applications to register as a candidate for admission to the practice of law and to take the bar exam. Upon reapplication, he will be required to undergo a complete character-and-fitness investigation, including an investigation and report by the National Conference of Bar Examiners, and demonstrate that he possesses the requisite character, fitness, and moral qualifications for admission to the practice of law in Ohio.
Justice O'Donnell and the Chief Justice would require an application in July 2019. (Mike Frisch)