Thursday, September 10, 2020
The Ohio Supreme Court has entered an order disqualifying a judge from all matters while under indictment.
Sua sponte, Jason D. Warner, Attorney Registration No. 0066451, disqualified from acting as a judge pursuant to Gov.Jud.R. III(6)(A). He shall remain disqualified while any and all indictments filed in the Marion County Court of Common Pleas are pending and until further order of this court.
The Columbus Dispatch reported yesterday
A Marion County judge and his wife have been indicted on felony charges for their role in a hit-skip crash that injured a man.
Marion residents Jason D. Warner, 50, and Julia M. Warner, 53, were indicted Wednesday. Jason Warner is a commons pleas judge elected in November 2018.
The Warners are accused of leaving the scene of a with another vehicle early on June 4 at Route 203 and Somerlot-Hoffman Road, according to a report by the Marion Post of the Ohio Highway Patrol. A 19-year-old Marion man was injured and was released from a hospital the next day.
Following are the charges outlined in the joint indictment: complicity to vehicular assault, a fourth-degree felony; complicity to vehicular assault, a third-degree felony; complicity to leaving the scene of an accident, a fourth-degree felony; and complicity to tampering with evidence, a third-degree felony.
The couple will be arraigned at 11 a.m. on Sept. 15 in Marion County Common Pleas Court.
In count three of the indictment, complicity to leaving the scene of an accident, prosecutors allege that the Warners “knew that the accident or collision resulted in serious physical harm” to the driver of the other vehicle.
Count four of the indictment, complicity to tampering with evidence, alleges that the Warners, “knowing that an official proceeding or investigation was in progress, or was about to be or likely to be instituted, altered, destroyed, concealed, or removed a record, document, or thing, with purpose to impair its value or availability as evidence in such proceeding or investigation.”
Summonses and certified copies of the indictment were issued for each of the Warners on Wednesday.
Margaret B. Tomaro, senior assistant attorney general from the Ohio Attorney General’s office, has been assigned as the special prosecutor in the case.
The Ohio Supreme Court assigned former Summit County Common Pleas Court Judge Patricia A. Cosgrove, effective July 14, 2020, to preside over the case.
Cosgrove served on the Summit County Common Pleas Court for 18 years, retiring in 2011. According to news reports, she has been assigned to numerous high-profile cases, including many involving elected officials.
According to the Ohio Highway Patrol report, the Warners’ vehicle struck the vehicle driven by the 19-year-old male around 12:04 a.m. on June 4 at the junction of Ohio 203 and Somerlot-Hoffman Road, causing it to veer off the roadway and hit a utility pole. He suffered a head injury, was trapped inside his vehicle, and had to be mechanically extricated from the vehicle.
According to the report, the Warners left the scene of the crash and contacted the Marion Post around 9:30 a.m. on June 4 to report their involvement.
Citing a conflict of interest in the case, Marion County Prosecutor Ray Grogan requested that Ohio Attorney General David Yost’s office assume responsibility for the investigation. Marion County Common Pleas Court Judge W.T. Edwards then issued the order for the Attorney General to take over the matter.
Judge Warner took a leave of absence from the court, effective Monday, Aug. 3. Judge W.T. Edwards, who serves as the administrative judge for common pleas court, said he was informed about the leave of absence by Warner’s secretary on Aug. 3.
Edwards said he has had no contact with Warner since being informed about the leave of absence and all of his attempts to reach Warner have been unsuccessful. Edwards noted that Warner did not specify the duration of the leave of absence.