Thursday, November 8, 2018
The Ohio Supreme Court has suspended a former magistrate for six months for work-related misconduct
...disciplinary counsel, alleged that while serving as a magistrate in the Cuyahoga County Court of Common Pleas, Juvenile Division, Wochna violated the Code of Judicial Conduct and the Rules of Professional Conduct by failing to accurately report his work hours and leave on his timecard.
The parties entered into stipulations of fact, misconduct, and aggravating and mitigating factors and jointly recommended that Wochna be suspended from the practice of law for six months, all stayed on condition. Based on those stipulations and the evidence adduced at the hearing, a panel of the Board of Professional Conduct agreed that Wochna committed the charged misconduct and found that the parties’ recommended sanction was reasonable and appropriate. The board adopted the panel’s report and recommendation, and no objections have been filed.
We adopt the board’s findings and recommended sanction.
As a magistrate, Wochna was required to work eight hours a day, 40 hours a week. If he worked less than eight hours a day, he was required to use his accrued leave time to make up the difference. Pursuant to the juvenile court’s flexible-schedule policy, Wochna submitted a request to work from 7:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m. beginning in December 2015. The court approved his request.
But flexibility has its limits
Following a September 2016 disciplinary hearing conducted by his employer, Wochna was found to have violated seven workplace rules prohibiting (1) falsification of documents, (2) dishonesty and misrepresentation, (3) misuse or theft of county property, (4) conduct unbecoming a court employee, (5) job abandonment and/or failure to report for duty as scheduled, (6) leaving one’s work area without permission, and (7) other acts of misfeasance, malfeasance, or nonfeasance. The court terminated his employment effective October 3, 2016.