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Franklin County Criminal Law Casebook
Reproduced with permission from
Allen V. Adair and the Franklin County Public Defender Office

COURTS (159)

Also see Referees and Magistrates; Judgment; Jurisdiction; Mayor's Courts; Evidence, Rules of/Evid. R. 614 -

Calling and Interrogation of Witnesses by Court; Contempt.

 

Powers and duties

Administrative matters

Judicial conduct during proceedings

Closure; Gag orders; News coverage

Disqualification of a judge, procedural issues

Disqualification or recusal necessary

Disqualification or recusal unnecessary

Disciplinary proceedings against a judge

 

Title 19 -- Courts: Municipal, Mayor's and County.

Title 21 -- Courts: Probate and Juvenile.

Title 23 -- Courts: Common Pleas.

Title 25 -- Courts: Appellate.

Title 27 -- Courts: General provisions and special remedies.

Criminal Rule 25 -- Disability of a judge.

Evidence Rule 614 -- Calling and Interrogation of Witnesses by Court.

Also see Article IV, Ohio Constitution, Rules for the Superintendence for Courts of Ohio and local court rules.

Powers and duties

State v. Landers, 188 Ohio App. 3d 786, 2010-Ohio-3709 – Trial courts possess the inherent power to dismiss the cases on their dockets. Wife who filed domestic violence charge failed to appear for trial. Prosecutor indicated she was in prison. Defense moved to dismiss. Court did so, without prejudice. Court declines following State v. Spitzer (1995), 107 Ohio App. 3d 707.

State v. Gerek, 186 Ohio App. 3d 281, 2010-Ohio-466 – Courts have the inherent power to vacate a judgment based on fraud upon the court even though no such authority is vested by rule or statute. An attorney licensed in Texas successfully applied to the Bowling Green Municipal Court in 2007 to reopen and dismiss a 1987 conviction because he had not been represented by counsel. He was employed as an airline pilot and the false alarms conviction kept him from flying into Canada. After learning this was not his only conviction the prosecutor filed a motion to show cause why this shouldn’t be set aside. Court had the authority to consider the motion.

Indian Hill v. Ellis, 144 Ohio Misc. 2d 31, 2007-Ohio-6465 -- The Village of Indian Hill in Hamilton County owns a well field in adjacent Clermont County. The defendant was charged with trespassing on the well field under an Indian Hill ordinance. Because the offense took place outside the city limits, the Indian Hill Mayor‘s court determined it did not have jurisdiction to hear the case and pursuant to R.C. 1905.032(A) transferred the case to the Clermont County Municipal Court. That court refuses to accept jurisdiction. R.C. 715.50 permits municipalities to sometimes adopt ordinances for regulation of municipal property outside city limits, which – for example the Dayton airport – which may be prosecuted in the municipality‘s municipal court. The court is uncertain whether these must be specially adopted ordinances or whether the municipality‘s general ordinances may be enforced. Either way, R.C. 715.50 does not confer jurisdiction in the municipal court of the county where the property is located.

State v. Burnside, 186 Ohio App. 3d 733, 2010-Ohio-1235 – A jury waiver colloquy took place in chambers and was transcribed. The form was signed and filed. In the courtroom the judge said there had been a waiver and defense counsel state, “Defense is ready.” Waiver was ineffective as it was not made in open court. Open court means in the courtroom with the judge on the bench and with proceedings open to the public.

State ex rel. Buck v. Maloney, 102 Ohio St. 3d 250 -- Probate judge barred two attorneys from practice in his court. The Court of Appeals dismissed their prohibition complaint for failing to state a cause of action. Reversed. Only the Supreme Court has authority to control practice before the courts of this state. The superintendence rules did not delegate the authority to suspend attorneys in these circumstances. Instead of remanding, the court exercises its plenary authority to grant the writ.

State ex rel. Gains v. Maloney, 102 Ohio St. 254, 2004-Ohio-2658 -- Disbarred attorney named the judge who sentenced him as respondent in a habeas action. The judge did not want to be represented by the county prosecutor who had represented the county commissioners in budget dispute litigation, so he appointed counsel to represent him in the habeas. Prosecutor brought an action in prohibition and prevailed. Appointment of outside counsel was not within the judge's inherent authority. This required application to the court by the prosecutor and county commissioners.

State v. Thomas, 97 Ohio St. 3d 309, 2002-Ohio-6624, ¶53-58 -- Three judge panel in a capital case called in a visiting judge to review admissibility of victim-impact statements. Referral was unnecessary and improper, but did not go to the jurisdiction of the court or render its judgment void.

State v. Keith, Cuyahoga App. No. 81125, 2002-Ohio-7250 -- Where the record does not reflect reassignment of the case to a visiting judge, any order by the visiting judge is void and not appealable.

State v. Corradetti, Lake App. No. 2001-L--92, 2002-Ohio-6577 -- One visiting judge took plea, another passed sentence. Illness of first visiting judge justified sentencing by another. No reversible error in failure to include a copy of the certificate of assignment in the file, as called for in the non-binding Guidelines for Assignment of Judges. The clerk's docket contained a valid certificate of assignment.

State v. McDowell, 150 Ohio App. 3d 413, 2002-Ohio-6712, ¶17 -- "While the decisions of sister courts are entitled to due consideration and respect, a court is not bound by those decisions...Also, a court is not unalterably bound to follow the precedent of a rule previously announced by it...As such, one municipal court judge is not bound by another municipal court judge's determination that a city ordinance is unconstitutional."

Walk v. Supreme Court of Ohio, Franklin App. No. 03AP-205, 2003-Ohio-5343 -- Former inmate sued the Supreme Court maintaining it was liable for damages because the judge assigned to sit on the trial court imposed an erroneous sentence resulting in eleven months of incarceration beyond the term of the sentence following reversal. Immunity bars recovery as the assigned judge acted within his judicial capacity. Thus vicarious liability may not be imposed on the Supreme Court through respondeat superior.

State ex rel. Newman v. Gretrick, 155 Ohio App. 3d 696, 2004-Ohio-222 -- Writ of procedendo granted divorce litigant after an inordinate amount of time had passed for issuing a decision in the case. Though the 90 days allocated by Sup. R. 40 for issuing a decision had passed, rules do not create rights in the litigants. However, such rights may arise otherwise, and here the delay was inordinate. Also see State ex rel Richard v. Calabrese (1993), 66 Ohio St. 3d 103 applying the same principle in a mandamus case.

State v. rel. Martin v. Mannen, 113 Ohio St. 3d 373, 2007-Ohio-2078 -- The requirement within R.C. 2938.11(F) that a judge issue a verdict within forty-eight hours of submission is directory, not mandatory. Inmate tried to use mandamus to vacate his convictions.

State ex rel. Powell v. Markus, 114 Ohio St. 3d 219, 2007-Ohio-4793 -- A retired common pleas court judge may sit by assignment notwithstanding his involvement in a private judicial services firm.

State v. Hochhausler (1996), 76 Ohio St. 3d 455, 464 -- "The legislative branch has no right to limit the inherent powers of the judicial branch of the government...Inherent within a court's jurisdiction, and essential to the orderly administration of justice, is the power to grant or deny stays."

State v. Wilson (1995), 102 Ohio App. 3d 467 -- Judicial duties which require an exercise of discretion or findings of fact may not be delegated to the clerk of court though an administrative order. Thus, cancellation of driver's license upon non payment of fine and costs based on declaration of forfeiture issued by clerk without judicial finding, was ineffective.

Vergnon v. Vergnon (1993), 87 Ohio App. 3d 639 -- Decision of judge not issued until after his retirement was void. Once his term had expired he was without authority to act in an official capacity. Nor could his successor issue a decision as he had not heard the evidence or observed the witnesses, and there was no indication he had familiarized himself with the record.

In re Karasek (1997), 119 Ohio App. 3d 615, 630-631 -- A judge may not order that an attorney may not appear in his courtroom in future cases without the assistance of co-counsel.

State v. White (1971), 27 Ohio St. 2d 73 -- When a member of a three judge panel has resigned, he may be replaced during further proceedings following remand by the court of appeals. The powers of a judge are not personal and may be exercised by another person properly qualified and assigned to assume duties.

State v. McKinley (1982), 7 Ohio App. 3d 255 -- When there is no objection to the substitution of a judge once a trial is underway, it is presumed that the defendant consented.

Beatty v. Alston (1975), 43 Ohio St. 2d 126 -- Habeas relief denied in the following circumstances: Defendant was tried before one judge but failed to appear for sentencing. When he appeared in arraignment court with new charges, the presiding judge disposed of both the new charges and the charge on which sentence had not been imposed. When the first judge found out, he vacated this sentence and imposed one that was more severe.

State v. Waddell (1995), 106 Ohio App. 3d 600 -- Defendant appeared in front of a temporary judge and was sentenced as a first offender on OMVI, though there was a prior offense, and for a driving under suspension violation as if there was no minimum sentence. Sentences were reduced to judgment, but after the resident judge returned, increased sentences were imposed, reflecting a second offense OMVI and a DUS violation carrying a three day minimum. Held to violate double jeopardy.

Wilson v. Neu (1984), 12 Ohio St. 3d 102 -- Paragraph one of the syllabus: "A judicial officer who has jurisdiction of the person and subject matter relating to a criminal offense is exempt from civil liability for false imprisonment even though he acts beyond his sentencing authority (Stahl v. Currey, 35 Ohio St. 253, and Voll v. Steele, 141 Ohio St. 293, followed.)

Pulliam v. Allen (1984), 466 U.S. 522 -- Judicial immunity is not a barrier to injunctive relief pursuant to 42 U.S.C. 1983, or to the award of attorney fees.

Barnette v. Evans (11th Cir. 1982), 673 F. 2d 1250 -- Federal bankruptcy judge may not enjoin state court prosecution on passing bad checks charge.

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Administrative matters

State ex rel. Badgett v. Mullen, 177 Ohio App. 3d 27, 2008-Ohio-2373 – Taxpayer has standing to bring mandamus action to compel provision of adequate facilities for the Marietta Municipal Court. Writ granted. Previously an ordinance adopted by referendum had blocked establishing new facilities.

State ex rel. Key v. Spicer, 91 Ohio St. 3d 469, 2001-Ohio-98 -- "R.C. 2931.01 does not disqualify a probate judge from presiding over criminal cases."

State ex rel. Montgomery County Public Defender v. Siroki, 108 Ohio St. 3d 334, 2006-Ohio-1065 -- Writ of mandamus issued directing the clerk of a mayor's court to file all documents presented to her by the public defender's office and its attorneys. While in a court of record there is a statutory procedure to resolve such a refusal, and the Supreme Court has held its own clerk may refuse filings upon instructions from the court, mayor's courts do not have this option.

State, ex rel. Britt, v. Board of County Commissioners, Franklin County (1985), 18 Ohio St. 3d 1, 2 -- "A court of common pleas possesses inherent authority to require funding for its services at a level that is both reasonable and necessary to the administration of the judicial process...In turn, the board of county commissioners must provide the requested funds, unless the commissioners can establish that the court abused its discretion in submitting a budget which is unreasonable and unnecessary." Also see State ex rel. Lake County Board of Commissioners v. Weaver (1993), 67 Ohio St. 3d 160.

State ex rel. Donaldson v. Alfred (1993), 66 Ohio St. 3d 327 -- Syllabus: "Where an investigation of municipal court personnel has not yet resulted in criminal charges, where acts for which counsel is requested fall within the court's normal duties, where a funding order explicitly states the nature of the services being requested, and where a conflict prevents the municipality from providing representation, the court is entitled to funding for such representation."

State v. Mahoney (1986), 34 Ohio App. 3d 114 -- Headnote 1: "The Rules of Superintendence for Common Pleas Courts are guidelines for judges only and cannot be used by criminal defendants as a ground for discharge, i.e., they are administrative directives only and not intended to function as rules of practice and procedure."

State v. Blythewood (1978), 60 Ohio App. 2d 300 -- Criminal Rule 25(B) permits the administrative judge to appoint himself to take over the duties of a judge who becomes unable to perform his duties, including ruling on motions for shock probation.

Melling v. Stralka (1984), 12 Ohio St. 3d 105 -- A municipal court may not adopt a local rule that is in the nature of a disciplinary rule. (Prosecutors and the like were not to represent defendants in criminal cases.)

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Judicial conduct during proceedings

Wellons v. Hall (2010), 130 S.Ct. 737 – After a capital trial the defense learned of unusual events, including ex parte contacts among the judge and jury, plans for a reunion and the presentation of lewd chocolates to the judge and bailiff. Defendant was never able to secure an evidentiary hearing. Vacated and remanded.

State v. Dean, 127 Ohio St. 3d 140, 2010-Ohio-5070 -- Supreme Court sustains propositions of law maintaining that the defendant was denied his right to self representation and that the judge was biased against him and his attorneys. State did not want to provide the address of a witness and utilized Crim. R. 16(B)(1)(e). Trial judge presided at the hearing, but contrary to State v. Gillard (1988), 40 Ohio St. 3d 226, refused to recuse himself. Effort to have him disqualified led to hostility, and threats to find trial counsel in contempt. Defendant wanted to represent himself, but was not allowed to do so because he said he was coerced to make that request.

State v. Marzett, 191 Ohio App. 3d 181, 2010-Ohio-5428 – 58-year old former boxer showed no brain function following fight with defendant and died in hospice weeks later. Defendant claimed self defense. Count one, charging attempted murder was tied to a jury, which returned a not guilty verdict. Counts two and three charging murder and felonious assault were tried to the bench. With the consent of both parties, the judge spoke with jurors following their verdict and before returning his. Reversed. ¶42: “We hold that the trial court’s conversations with the jury outside the presence of the defense and while still deliberating its verdict on pending charges is an unsupportable irregularity in the proceedings that merits reversal.”

State v. Vanni, 182 Ohio App. 3d 505, 2009-Ohio-2295 – Original judge recused himself and transferred the case to a second judge, who had signed the anticipatory search warrant at issue in a motion to suppress the evidence in a controlled delivery drug case. At some point the Chief Justice assigned a different judge to preside. Before a hearing on the MTS was conduced before that judge, the judge who signed the warrant put on an entry overruling the suppression motion. Reversed because the second judge was without authority to act further. Opinion does not further address the impropriety of the issuing judge ruling on suppression.

State v. Ludt, 180 Ohio App. 3d 672, 2009-Ohio-416 – Defendant greeted repo men at the door with a gun in his hand. Case was taken under advisement after a bench trial. Defendant posted signs in his yard which the judge saw. At a status conference the judge said he interpreted these as a dare he find the defendant guilty, then announced that was his verdict. But the verdict was not journalized until two months later, at which time the judge also recused himself. While the court of appeals may not pass on matters of disqualification, it may consider whether there was a denial of due process. After discussing the records and detailing possible defenses to a charge of aggravated menacing, the court finds a denial of due process.

State v. Sellers, 173 Ohio App. 3d 60, 2007-Ohio-4681 – Defendant initially was sentenced to four years for aggravated assault, then seven years for involuntary manslaughter after the victim died after eight years in a persistent vegetative state. Defendant successfully appealed the denial of funds for a defense expert, then was sentenced to eight years after being found guilty by a jury. Sentence modified back to seven years because the record did not offer affirmative reasons supporting the increased sentence. Earlier the court had rejected claims judicial bias amounted to structural error and claims the death was the result of intervening causes. It was (harmless) error to bar objections during opening. A footnote states the opinion does not affirm the trial court‘s ruling that collateral estoppel allowed the jury to be informed the state had already proven most of the elements of involuntary manslaughter in the initial aggravated assault trial.

Cincinnati v. Smith, 180 Ohio App. 3d 587, 2009-Ohio-143 – Defendant wanted a jury trial on a new prostitution charge, but pled no contest as to probation revocation. Judge was willing to continue probation if she plead to the solicitation, but the defendant held to her wish to have a jury trial. Judge gave her 180 days on the probation violation and suggested she reconsider jury trial on the new charge which carried a maximum of 60 days. She folded and probation was continued with additional conditions. Plea was coerced. Reversed. In Anglo-American jurisprudence the right to jury trial has been sacrosanct since at least 1215.

State v. Sanders, 184 Ohio App. 3d 482, 2010-Ohio-3433 – During deliberations the prosecutor e-mailed a request for a supplemental instruction to the judge, with a copy to the defense. On appeal the defense characterized this as improper ex parte communication. Appellate court is not sure, but draws comparison to letters sent judges. Ultimately it is concluded that the supplemental instruction on complicity was complete and correct.

State v. Johnson (1999), 134 Ohio App. 3d 586 -- Counsel's failure to specifically object to hostile comments from the bench said to force plain error review on appeal.

State v. DeMastry, 155 Ohio App. 3d 110, 2003-Ohio-5588, ¶ 76-80 -- Reference to trial judge sitting by assignment as being in his declining years and overwhelmed by the task of managing a complex case draws a sharp response. Unsupported attacks against the integrity of the judiciary have no place in appellate briefs. Objectivity must be attacked via the procedure set forth in R.C. 2701.03.

State v. Stafford, 158 Ohio App. 3d 509, 2004-Ohio-3893 -- After opening statements the judge pressed the defendant to plead guilty, saying even though the facts merited more time, he would probably be given an eleven year sentence. If convicted he would probably get twenty-three years. Upon conviction, the sentence was twenty years. Reversed. It was a denial of due process to punish the defendant for asserting his right to jury trial. The record demonstrates actual vindictiveness, or at least the state has failed to overcome the presumption of vindictiveness.

State v. Colegrove (2000), 140 Ohio App. 3d. 306, 316 -- Defendant claimed court should have declared a mistrial after becoming aware of similar acts evidence only admissible at trial of specifications. Absent affirmative proof that the court improperly considered inadmissible evidence, it is presumed that the court considered only relevant, material and competent evidence.

State v. Prokos (1993), 91 Ohio App. 3d 39 -- Prolonged and repetitive questioning from the bench which communicates the judge's view of the merits is improper. Also see Hamilton v. Clemans (1997), 121 Ohio App. 3d 337. Also see United States v. Lewis (6th Cir. 1964), 338 F. 2d 137, 140; Rogers v. United States (9th Cir. 1979), 609 F. 2d 1315, 1318.

State v. Wade (1978), 53 Ohio St. 2d 182, 188 -- "Generally in determining whether a trial judge's remarks were prejudicial, the courts will adhere to the following rules: (1) The burden of proof is placed upon the defendant to demonstrate prejudice, (2) it is presumed that the trial judge is in the best position to decide whether a breach is committed and what corrective measures are called for, (3) the remarks are to be considered in light of the circumstances under which they are made, (4) consideration is to be given to their possible effect upon the jury, and (5) to their possible impairment of the effectiveness of counsel." Also see Bursten v. United States (5th Cir. 1968), 395 F. 2d 976, 983; Starr v. United States (1894), 153 U.S. 614, 626; Hicks v. United States 150 U.S. 442, 452; United States v. Michienzi (6th Cir. 1980), 630 F. 2d 455; State v. Thomas 36 Ohio St. 2d 68, 71-72; Columbus v. Andrews (February 27, 1992), Franklin Co. App. Nos. 91AP-590, 880-881, unreported (1992 Opinions 667, 672-678).

State v. Gordon (March 7, 1995), Franklin Co. App. No. 89AP-279, unreported (1995 Opinions 810) -- Even though the efforts of defense counsel may have taxed the patience of the court, repeated intervention from the bench denied the defendant due process. Court interposed frequent objections, imposed time restrictions on cross-examination, and frequently expressed impatience and agitation with what he perceived as the unacceptably slow pace of proceedings and the conduct of defense counsel.

Mentor-on-the-Lake v. Giffin (1995), 105 Ohio App. 3d 441 -- Repeated intervention of the judge during questioning, including questions, supplied answers, and commentary, results in reversal, notwithstanding failure to object, curative instruction, and some similar intervention during questioning by the prosecutor. Also see Sate v. McQueen (1997), 124 Ohio App. 3d 444 which involved an unrepresented defendant.

State v. Allen (1995), 102 Ohio App. 3d 696 -- While it was improper for the judge to thank a witness for "being open and candid," error was cured by an instruction that jurors not consider any perceived comments by the judge on witness credibility.

State v. Bayer (1995), 102 Ohio App. 3d 172, 182 -- "...(T)his court will not indulge a reincarnation of Judge Roy Bean and his 'Law West of the Pecos' style of adjudication East of the Cuyahoga." Trial judge improperly intervened in defendant's presentation of his case. Opinion contains numerous quotes on the importance of judicial impartiality.

State v. Kish (1981), 4 Ohio App. 3d 252 -- Headnote: "The general rule is that the court's commitment of a witness to jail during the trial and in the presence of the jury constitutes reversible error, as an encroachment upon the right of the jury freely to consider a witness' testimony, uninfluenced by the court's opinion as to the credibility of the witness or the weight of the testimony." Also see State v. Boyd (1989), 63 Ohio App. 3d 790; State, ex rel. Wise, v. Chand (1970), 21 Ohio St. 2d 113.

State v. Johnson (2000), 88 Ohio St. 3d 95, 102-108 -- During a death penalty trial judge gave a juror a lift to a park and ride lot. She had missed her bus and storms were approaching. While this created the appearance of impropriety and was presumptively prejudicial, court declines to reverse.

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Closure; Gag orders; News coverage

State ex rel. Toledo Blade v. Henry County Court of Common Pleas, 125 Ohio St. 3d 149, 2010-Ohio-1533 – In a small county with a limited number of prospective jurors both the prosecution and defense supported a gag order on news coverage of the first defendant’s trial until a jury had been selected for the codefendant. Later learning of the order, the Toledo Blade initiated a prohibition action in the Supreme Court and prevailed. ¶19: Prohibition is the appropriate remedy in these circumstances. ¶37: A defendant’s Sixth Amendment right to a fair trial is no more important than the media’s First Amendment rights. Opinion does not preclude gag orders in such circumstances but faults the issuing judge for not having conduced a hearing generating evidence in support of the order.

State v. Dubose, 174 Ohio App. 3d 637, 2007-Ohio-7217 – On inquiry from the bench a witness said he did not feel comfortable testifying with numerous members of the defendant‘s family in the courtroom. The judge ordered the courtroom completely cleared, but only for the testimony of the one witness. The defendant was denied his right to a public trial. Held to be structural error. While closure may be permitted, there must be a substantial reason for it that is readily apparent and supported in the record. The witness said only that he did not feel right, not that he was intimidated. Court should have considered only excluding some spectators, or permitting the media to remain. Court is concerned about what inferences the jury might have drawn from exclusion of all spectators. Also see State v. Drummond, 111 Ohio St. 3d 14, 2006-Ohio-5084; Waller v. Georgia (1984), 467 U.S. 39, 49-50.

State ex rel. Plain Dealer Publishing Co. v. Floyd, 111 Ohio St. 3d 56, 2006-Ohio-4437 -- Writ of prohibition granted to prevent juvenile court judge from closing proceedings without a hearing and evidentiary findings. Writ of mandamus issued to compel providing notice, available to the public, regarding closure motions and hearings.

State v. Bethel, 110 Ohio St. 3d 416, 2006-Ohio-4853, ¶81-87 -- Improper closure of a hearing is structural error not subject to harmless error analysis. But the court concludes a new hearing on the matter at issue at the hearing would not change the position of the parties and refuses to reverse.

State v. Drummond, 111 Ohio St. 3d 14, 2006-Ohio-5084, ¶29-58 -- Closure to all but the news media during the testimony of a few witnesses during a capital trial deemed not to require reversal, though the court still characterizes the denial of the right to a public trial as structural error. Se dissent.

State v. Morris, 157 Ohio App. 3d 395, 2004-Ohio-2870 -- Judge ordered the courtroom cleared following an outburst during a sentencing hearing. Reversed for failure to make a record supporting the necessity of doing so, in view of the defendant's right to a public trial.

State v. Washington (2001), 142 Ohio App. 3d 268 -- Prosecutor's request for closure during testimony of confidential informant was granted, though the defendant's mother was the focus and there was no showing of an overriding interest likely to be prejudiced if the public was not excluded. Because the violation of the constitutional right to a public trial is structural, harmless error analysis does not apply.

State ex rel. Plain Dealer Publishing Co. v. Geauga County Court of Common Pleas (2000), 90 Ohio St. 3d 79 -- The general qualified constitutional right of public access to court proceedings does not apply to juvenile cases, where there is no presumption for or against public access. Bindover proceedings bear a closer resemblance to those proceedings traditionally open to the public than other juvenile proceedings, such as those involving abuse, neglect and dependency. Notwithstanding the lack of a presumption, the party seeking closure must establish (1) there is a reasonable and substantial basis for believing public access would harm the child or endanger the fairness of the proceedings; (2) the potential for harm outweighs the benefits of public access; and (3) there are no reasonable alternatives to closure. The public interest in opening proceedings increases with the seriousness of charges and as the juvenile approaches adulthood. Judge found to have abused his discretion in closing proceedings where there was no evidence supporting closure. Writ of prohibition granted.

State ex rel. Dispatch Printing Company v. Louden (2001), 91 Ohio St. 3d 61 -- Improper for judge to bar media from courthouse at the time of a closed juvenile detention hearing, though other members of the public were allowed in the building. Closure of the juvenile hearing without a hearing on closure was improper. Court is not to proceed in this manner in the future.

State v. Cassano, 96 Ohio St. 3d 94, 2002-Ohio-3751, ¶61-66 -- Though it was error to close a suppression hearing to the public, the error was invited because closure was at the defendant's request.

State v. Alexander, Carroll App. No. 03 CA 789, 2004-Ohio-5525 -- It was invited error when trial counsel "stipulated" the courtroom could be closed during a competency hearing, but an objection was entered to closure during the actual testimony. Court's failure to spell out reasons for closure leads to reversal. At ¶20, applying Waller v. Georgia (1984), 467 U.S. 39: "First, the party seeking to close the trial or some portion of it must assert an overriding interest. Second, any closure must be narrowly tailored to protect that interest. Third, the trial court must consider reasonable alternatives to closing the courtroom. Finally, the court must make findings on the record adequate to support the closure." The error is structural, so prejudice need not be shown.

Richmond Newspapers v. Virginia (1980), 448 U.S. 555 -- Justices agree that trials are open to the press and the public, but differ as to constitutional authority and as to when closure may be ordered.

Chandler v. Florida (1981), 449 U.S. 560, 574-575 -- "An absolute constitutional ban on broadcast coverage of trials cannot be justified simply because there is a danger that, in some cases, prejudicial broadcast accounts of pretrial and trial events may impair the ability of jurors to decide the issue of guilt or innocence uninfluenced by extraneous matter...(T)he appropriate safeguard against such prejudice is the defendant's right to demonstrate that the media's coverage of his case...compromised the ability of the particular jury that heard the case to adjudicate it fairly." Also see State, ex rel. Grinnell Communications Corp., v. Love (1980), 62 Ohio St. 2d 399, 401; State v. Rogers (1985), 17 Ohio St. 3d 174, 184-185.

In re T.R. (1990), 53 Ohio St. 3d 6 -- Paragraph three of the syllabus: "Proceedings in juvenile court to determine if a child is abused, neglected, or dependent, or to determine custody of a minor child, are neither presumptively open nor presumptively closed to the public. The juvenile court may restrict public access to these proceedings pursuant to Juv. R. 27 and R.C. 2151.35 if the court finds, after hearing evidence and argument on the issue, (1) that there exists a reasonable and substantial basis for believing that public access could harm the child or endanger the fairness of the adjudication, and (2) the potential for harm outweighs the benefits of public access." Also see State, ex rel. Fyffe, v. Pierce (1988), 40 Ohio St. 3d 8. Also see In re D.R. (1993), 63 Ohio Misc. 2d 273; In Re N.H. (1992), 63 Ohio Misc. 2d 285.

State ex rel Dispatch Printing Co. v. Lias (1994), 68 Ohio St. 3d 497 -- From the syllabus: "(1) Unless summarily denied, a motion of a party to a juvenile court proceeding...requesting that the proceeding be closed to the press and public, requires the juvenile court to conduct an evidentiary hearing...(2) When a party to a juvenile court proceeding asserts that a closure hearing itself should be closed, the juvenile court must conduct an in camera inspection to determine if closure of the closure hearing is appropriate...(3)...(T)he inspection must be conducted with counsel for the parties, the press and the public, if any, present and participating, and such participation is to include a review by counsel of the summary of testimony sought to be excluded...(5) Those persons present and participating...are prohibited, under penalty of contempt, from disseminating any information determined by the juvenile court to be excluded from public disclosure..."

In re Joanne M. (1995), 103 Ohio App. 3d 447 -- Summary denial of child welfare agency's motion for closure, without an evidentiary hearing, was erroneous. There is no presumption either for or against closure. Case involved unsavory claims of child abuse.

State ex rel. Scripps Howard Broadcasting Company v. Cuyahoga County Court of Common Pleas, Juvenile Division (1995), 73 Ohio At. 3d 19 -- Writ of mandamus granted to compel court to permit court reporter to sell station a copy of transcript of proceedings wherein child welfare agency and employees were found in contempt. Hearing had not been closed to the public, and a representative of another news agency had been in attendance. Juv. R. 37 did not allow court to block purchase. Transcript also subject to disclosure pursuant to R.C. 149.43.

El Vocero de Puerto Rico v. Puerto Rico (1993), 508 U.S. 147 -- Probable cause hearings, which are the equivalent of preliminary hearings under the Puerto Rico Rules of Criminal Procedure, must be open to the public.

State v. Sanders (1998), 130 Ohio App. 3d 92 -- Reversible error to totally exclude the public from the concluding portions of a bench trial. Most of the noise appeared to be from outside the courtroom. Court refused to allow defendant's wife and parents to remain in the courtroom as requested by defense counsel. Also see State v. Clifford (1999), 135 Ohio App. 3d 207.

State v. Zerla (December 22, 1994), Franklin Co. App. No. 93APA09-1304 -- A judge may properly exclude young children from the courtroom when the trial includes graphic testimony concerning sexual conduct. Also see State v. Hensley (1906), 75 Ohio St. 255, 263-264 -- "..at least the young may be excluded from hearing and witnessing the evidences of human depravity which the trial must necessarily bring to light."

Strutner v. Dispatch Printing Co. (1982), 2 Ohio App. 3d 377 -- No cause of action for invasion of privacy where paper printed names and address of parents of criminal suspect which were readily ascertainable from public records.

State, ex rel. Chillicothe Gazette, v. Kiser (1982), 2 Ohio St. 3d 24 -- Writ of prohibition issued against trial judge who did not apply proper standards in issuing order that paper not publish names and addresses of prospective jurors.

State, ex rel. National Broadcasting Co., v. Lake County Court of Common Pleas (1990), 52 Ohio St. 3d 104 -- As to disposition of issues raised in prohibition action attacking gag orders entered in two of the Lundgren cult homicide cases: (1) News media has standing to attack a gag order without making a showing that those affected actually are willing to talk to the press. (2) At p. 108: "...(A) gag order cannot issue unless 'specific, on the record findings' are made demonstrating that a gag order is 'essential to preserve higher values and is narrowly tailored to serve that interest.'" (3) A court may order media outlets to preserve news and commentary tapes. (4) Judge cannot bar publication of jurors' names or of photographs of jurors taken outside the courtroom. (5) Judge may prevent photography, during testimony, of witnesses who object. However, they may be photographed off the stand. (6) The defendant may be photographed while he is in the courtroom. If he objects, he may not be photographed while testifying. Also see Common Pleas Superintendence Rule 11; State, ex rel. Grinnell Communications Corp., v. Love (1980), 62 Ohio St. 2d 399; State, ex rel. Dispatch Printing Co., v. Golden (1982), 2 Ohio App. 3d 370; Press-Enterprise Co. v. Superior Court (1986), 478 U.S. 1; Press-Enterprise Co. v. Superior Court (1984), 464 U.S. 501.

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Disqualification of a judge, procedural issues

R.C. 2701.03 -- Disqualification of common pleas judge; proceedings after affidavit filed against common pleas

or appellate judge.

R.C. 2701.031 -- Disqualification of municipal court or county court judge.

Code of Judicial Conduct, Canon 3(A)(7)(c) -- Rules governing broadcast and photo coverage of trials.

Code of Judicial Conduct, Canon 3(C) -- When a judge should disqualify himself in a proceeding.

 

For numerous decisions on disqualification of judges, see 74 Ohio St. 3d 1212-1279; 81 Ohio St. 3d 1201-1221;

88 Ohio St. 3d. 1207-1223.

For discussion of when recusal is required in federal district court, see Litkey v. United States (1994), 510 U.S.

540.

State v. Webb, 173 Ohio App. 3d 547, 2007-Ohio-5670 ¶22-23 – Claims of judicial bias will not be addressed by an appellate court. R.C. 2701.03 provides the exclusive means by which a litigant may address claims of bias and prejudice against a trial court judge.

State v. Jones, Portage App. No. 2008-P-0018, 2008-Ohio-6994 – Attorney found in contempt sought to have Municipal Court judge recused from further proceedings to impose a penalty. Common Pleas court judge refused to so order. Majority finds an appellate court does not have authority to review claimed error. See dissent.

State v. Hartman, 174 Ohio App. 3d 244, 2007-Ohio-6555 – Judge indicated he would disqualify himself to avoid the appearance of impropriety, but never journalized such action. Therefore he had not disqualified himself and remained able to dispose of the case. Nor does the record disclose and actual basis for recusal. But the case is reversed anyway because the judge had a duty to sua sponte order a competency evaluation.

State ex rel. Kline v. Carroll, 96 Ohio St. 3d 404, 2002-Ohio-4849 -- Common Pleas judge improperly transferred case from one municipal court in the county to another upon the voluntary recusal of the assigned trial judge. Writ of prohibition granted even though counsel for petitioner had sought the remedy provided. Also see Parma v. Kline, Cuyahoga App. Nos. 83287, 83427, 2004-Ohio-6091.

State v. Green (2000), 90 Ohio St. 3d 352, 367 -- It is error for judge to sit on a three-judge panel in a capital case after he has determined a Crim. R. 16(B)(1)(e) certification that the name of a witness be withheld in discovery. Also see State v. Gillard (1988), 40 Ohio St. 3d 226.

State v. Scruggs, Franklin App. No. 02AP-621, 2003-Ohio-2019 -- Judge's failure to rule on motion she recuse herself is tantamount to motion being overruled. However, since the Chief Justice or his delegate has the authority to determine a claim that a common pleas court judge is biased or prejudiced, a court of appeals is without authority to pass upon such claims.

State v. Payne, 149 Ohio App. 3d 368, 2002-Ohio-5180 -- Visiting judge joked in chambers he was in a convicting mood. Defendant sought recusal, but never filed the required affidavit in the Supreme Court. Court of Appeals cannot review judge's refusal to recuse himself as error. It can consider whether the refusal amounted to a denial of due process. Compare State v. Hunter, 151 Ohio App. 3d 276, 2002-Ohio-7326, ¶21, finding an appellate court has no jurisdiction to vacate the trial court's judgment on a claim of judicial bias.

Beer v. Griffith (1978), 54 Ohio St. 2d 440 -- Since only the Chief Justice or his designee may hear disqualification matters, a Court of Appeals may not void a judgment because it determines that a common pleas judge should have been disqualified from hearing a case. Also see Kettering v. Berger (1982), 4 Ohio App. 3d 254; Kondrat v. Ralph Ingersoll Publishing Co. (1989), 56 Ohio App. 3d 173. Also see State v. Daugherty (1994), 99 Ohio App. 3d 265.

Nicolaci v. Littlejohn (1989), 55 Ohio App. 3d 147 -- Only a common pleas court judge may rule upon the disqualification of a municipal court judge. The court of appeals is without authority to determine an assignment of error alleging that the trial judge should have disqualified himself.

Columbus v. Bonner (1981), 2 Ohio App. 3d 34 -- The presiding judge of the Municipal Court was not the proper person to rule on defendant's request that all judges of that court be disqualified. Matter should have been referred to the presiding judge of the Common Pleas Court.

Williams v. Banner Buick (1989), 60 Ohio App. 3d 128, 133 -- The filing of an affidavit of prejudice is essential to the litigation of a claim that a judge should have been disqualified.

In re Disqualification of Lorig (1996), 75 Ohio St. 3d 1212 -- "While the statute governing the filing of affidavits of disqualification provides that an affidavit is timely if filed at least three days before the scheduled hearing date, I have held that an affidavit of disqualification must be filed as soon as possible after the incident giving rise to the claim of bias or prejudice occurred or affiant becomes aware of circumstances that support the disqualification." Amendment of statute now requires affidavit be filed within seven days of hearing.

In re Disqualification of Light (1988), 36 Ohio St. 3d 604 -- (1) "In the absence of extraordinary circumstances, an affidavit of disqualification should not be used to disqualify a judge after lengthy proceedings have transpired in a particular case." (2) "...(T)he filing of frivolous or repeated affidavits could result in appropriate sanctions being taken against the offending person."

State ex rel. Stern v. Mascio (1998), 81 Ohio St. 3d 297 -- Under the current version of R.C. 2701.03 the mere filing of an affidavit of disqualification in the Supreme Court divests a judge of authority to act in a case until the Supreme Court rules upon the affidavit, the only possible exception being to determine a matter which does not affect the substantive rights of the parties.

State v. Flowers (March 26, 1981), Franklin Co. App. No. 80AP-906, unreported (1981 Opinions 700) -- Judge was without authority to proceed and dismiss petition for postconviction relief until the Supreme Court had acted on affidavit of prejudice filed by petitioner. Also see Cuyahoga County Board of Mental Retardation v. Association of Cuyahoga County Teachers of the Trainable Retarded (1975), 47 Ohio App. 2d 28, 37. Compare Evans v. Dayton Newspapers, Inc. (1989), 57 Ohio App. 3d 57 -- Judge may still perform duties such as holding already scheduled pretrial conference and scheduling trial and time limits for response to motions.

Cleveland v. White Properties, Inc. (1985), 28 Ohio App. 3d 37 --Court did not err by proceeding to trial after second affidavit of prejudice was filed, identical in substance to a an affidavit overruled by the Supreme Court. Also see In re Disqualification of Sweeney (1987), 36 Ohio St. 3d 602.

State v. Flichock (1998), 126 Ohio App. 3d 66 -- Common Pleas Court judge ruled municipal court judge was disqualified from taking further action in an OMVI case following reversal based on judicial misconduct, but the judge proceeded to rule on a motion to modify a sentence tentatively imposed by an acting judge. Reversed and judge criticized for his conduct.

State v. Mays (1996), 108 Ohio App. 3d 598, 609-614 -- Chief Justice took ten months to rule on affidavit of disqualification filed by the prosecutor. Held that time within which defendant must be brought to trial was tolled, even though there was no express stay order. Court construes R.C. 2701.03 which relates to the disqualification procedure as an express statutory requirement for purposes of R.C. 2945.71(G).

State v. Dotson (1987), 35 Ohio App. 3d 135, 142 -- In the case of attempts to disqualify a common pleas court judge, questions of production of evidence are to be resolved in proceedings before the Supreme Court and may not be assigned as error on appeal.

In re Disqualification of Kimbler (1988), 44 Ohio App. 3d 9 -- The ruling of a common pleas court judge concerning the disqualification of a municipal court judge is not immediately appealable, but may be assigned as error in any subsequent appeal.

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Disqualification or recusal necessary

In re Disqualification of Celebrezze, 127 Ohio St. 3d 1217, 2009-Ohio-7207 – Judge was elected to take her father’s seat on the domestic relations court bench. Judicial Conduct Rule 2.11(6) requires her disqualification in all cases in which her father acted as judge.

In re Disqualification of O'Neill, 100 Ohio St. 3d 1226, 2002-Ohio-7476; In re Disqualification of O'Neill, 100 Ohio St. 3d 1228, 2002-Ohio-7477; In re Disqualification of O'Neill, 100 Ohio St. 3d 1230, 2002-Ohio-7478; In re Disqualification of O'Neill, 100 Ohio St. 3d 1232, 2002-Ohio-7479 -- Three out of four requests for disqualification granted where judge was the subject of past and ongoing disciplinary proceedings. Blanket disqualification ordered with respect to two public defenders and an associate of the judge's former staff attorney who were witnesses in ongoing proceedings. Disqualification denied upon request of prosecutor involved in prior proceedings and facing trial of a capital case before a three judge panel including respondent and one of her adversaries on the bench.

In re Disqualification of Bond, 94 Ohio St. 3d 1221, 2001-Ohio-4102 -- Disqualification necessary where there was a significant likelihood that judge would be called as a witness concerning her declaration of a mistrial and conversations she had with jurors concerning alleged jury misconduct.

In re Disqualification of Rastatter, 113 Ohio St. 3d 1218, 2006-Ohio-7226 -- Disqualification necessary where the judge had issued a search warrant, stepped aside in order to testify at a suppression hearing, and had acknowledged ex parte discussions with the prosecutor in relation to his testimony at that hearing.

In re Disqualification of Corrigan, 94 Ohio St. 3d 1234, 2001-Ohio-4092 -- Judge's failure to respond to allegations contained in the affidavit of disqualification leads to disqualification to avoid the appearance of impropriety.

In re Disqualification of Squire, 105 Ohio St. 3d 1221, 2004-Ohio-7358, ¶9 -- "Because the November 2003 conversation has generated so many back-and-forth charges and denials, because the ongoing focus by both the judge and affiant on that conversation appears to have affected the future ability of the judge and affiant to work constructively on this case, and because any further difficulties between them might well undermine the parties' and the public's confidence in the fairness of these proceedings, I conclude that Judge Squire should be disqualified." Also see In re Disqualification of Squire, 110 Ohio St. 3d 1202, 2005-Ohio-7157.

In re Disqualification of Hoover, 113 Ohio St. 3d 1233, 2006-Ohio-7234 -- Attorney and judge had been election opponents. While the request for disqualification was even-tempered and straightforward, the response was "laced with invectives...complete with several exclamation points." Disqualification ordered.

Columbus v. Pierce (1991), 77 Ohio App. 3d 841 -- When a case has been remanded by the court of appeals, the trial judge should not preside at further proceedings if his prior remarks indicate the formation of a fixed anticipatory judgment on his part as opposed to an open state of mind and a willingness to be governed by the law and the facts.

In re Disqualification of Pepple (1989), 47 Ohio St. 3d 606 -- "In general, prior representation of a party by one who is now a judge is a disqualifying factor."

In re Disqualification of Badger (1989), 47 Ohio St. 3d -- Where a judge is represented by private counsel, he should not sit in other cases where that lawyer represents a litigant, even though the case in which the judge is represented relates to his official position and he had no involvement in the selection of the lawyer who represents him.

In re Disqualification of Nugent (1987), 47 Ohio St. 3d 601 -- To avoid the appearance of impropriety, judge sitting on same bench as homicide victim's father is disqualified. (Other family members also employed by the court and the prosecutor's office.) Also see In re Disqualification of Nadel (1989), 47 Ohio St. 3d 604.

In re Disqualification of Corrigan (1989), 47 Ohio St. 3d 602 -- Judge (and entire Cuyahoga County bench) disqualified where alleged case was to be prosecuted by judge's father, that judge had played a central role in developing the theory of prosecution and was a potential witness.

In re Disqualification of Crawford (1996), 81 Ohio St. 3d 1204 -- All judges of the Franklin County Court of Common Pleas disqualified from hearing postconviction case where former prosecutor, now employed by the court as a magistrate, will testify. Also see In re Disqualification of O'Neill (1997), 81 Ohio St. 3d 1213 -- Same result where former prosecutor is now a judge.

In re Disqualification of Corts (1988), 47 Ohio St. 3d 601, 602 -- "The filing of lawsuits against one or more members of a court does not lead to the conclusion that another member of that court cannot fairly preside in a different matter involving that party...(A) judge is not automatically disqualified if that judge is himself an adverse party in other litigation brought by one seeking the judge's disqualification." Also see In re Disqualification of Hunter (1988), 36 Ohio St. 3d 607.

State v. Hamm (October 8, 1992), Franklin Co. App. No. 92AP-216, unreported (1992 Opinions 4779) -- Judge should have recused himself from revocation hearing after listening privately to tapes made by complaining party and presented for ex parte review by probation officer.

Bedford v. Lacey (1985), 30 Ohio App. 3d -- When all of the judges of a municipal court have disqualified themselves, without the filing of an affidavit of prejudice, appointment of the judge who will hear the case is the responsibility of the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court and not of the presiding judge of the local court of common pleas.

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Disqualification or recusal unnecessary

In re Disqualification of Pontious, 94 Ohio St. 3d 1236, 2001-Ohio-4105 -- Disqualification not required because judge read and considered letters from family of the victim before denying a motion for continuance. Better practice would have been to immediately furnish copies of the letters to counsel.

In re Disqualification of Murphy (1988), 36 Ohio St. 3d 605 -- "Dissatisfaction or disagreement with a judge's rulings of law are legal issues subject to appeal. A trial judge's opinions of law, even if erroneous, are not by themselves evidence of bias or prejudice and thus are not grounds for disqualification."

In re Disqualification of Miller (1997), 81 Ohio St. 3d 1209 -- Dating relationship between judge and member of law firm representing plaintiff does not require disqualification.

In re Disqualification of Nugent (State v. Jurek) (1987), 74 Ohio St. 3d 1212 -- Prior employment of judge in the prosecutor's office was not a basis for disqualification where such employment was more than three years in the past, there was no evidence of a disqualifying relationship between the judge and the trial prosecutors, and there was no suggestion that the judge had significant contact with the defendant or exposure to matters at issue in the proceedings.

In re Disqualification of Belskis (1993), 74 Ohio App. 3d 1252 -- "The mere filing of a disciplinary complaint by a judge against a lawyer does not require the judge to recuse himself from cases involving that lawyer." Also see In re Disqualification of Krueger (1995), 74 Ohio St. 3d 1267 holding disqualification is not required "solely because a party or counsel in a pending case has filed a grievance against the judge."

In re Disqualification of Kilpatrick (1989), 47 Ohio St. 3d 605, 606 -- "...(A) judge is not automatically disqualified solely because a party in a case pending before him or her has filed a complaint against the judge with Disciplinary Counsel or a similar body."

State v. D'Ambrosio (1993), 67 Ohio St. 3d 185, 188 -- "A judge need not recuse himself simply because he acquired knowledge of the facts during a prior proceeding." Also see In re Daniel E. (1997), 122 Ohio App. 3d 139.

In re Disqualification of Kimmel (1987), 36 Ohio St. 3d 602 -- A judge may preside over the retrial of a case reversed on appeal where his opinions of the law were erroneous but not by themselves evidence of bias and prejudice. Also see State v. Baker (1984), 25 Ohio Misc. 2d 11.

State v. Getsy (1998), 84 Ohio St. 3d 180, 184-185 -- During a death penalty trial, the presiding judge attended a party with the prosecutor, then was charged with OMVI after being involved in an auto accident on the way home. The Chief Justice denied an affidavit of disqualification. This ruling is res judicata as to an assignment of error challenging the judge's failure to recuse himself or declare a mistrial.

Taylor v. Carr (1989), 61 Ohio App. 3d 368 -- Fact that bailiff was related to one of the parties did not automatically require disqualification of the judge.

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Disciplinary proceedings against a judge

Disciplinary Counsel v. Campbell, 126 Ohio St. 3d 150, 2010-Ohio-3265 – Municipal court judge became involved in the investigation of underage drinking, improperly denied appointment of counsel for indigent defendants, and otherwise abused his office. One year suspension, six months stayed.

Disciplinary Counsel v. Plough, 126 Ohio St. 3d 167, 2010-Ohio-3298 – Municipal court judge failed to maintain complete records of proceedings in his courtroom, was sluggish in implementing mandate of the court of appeals upon reversal, engaged in ex parte communication with a prosecutor, exhibited an anti-defense in criminal cases and more. One year suspension, six months stayed.

Disciplinary Counsel v. Squire, 116 Ohio St. 3d 110, 2007-Ohio-5588 -- Bizarre and abusive misconduct by a floundering domestic relations court judge nets a two year suspension with one year stayed. The fact she was not reelected does not call for a lesser sanction.

Disciplinary Counsel v. Runyan, 108 Ohio St. 3d 43, 2006-Ohio-80 -- Public reprimand to judge who went too far in trying to remedy what he saw as a detective's improper effort to keep a defense witness from testifying. After declaring a mistrial, the judge directed the prosecutor to post a bond to pay some of the costs of a retrial, then got into a battle with the prosecutor and chief of police.

Ohio State Bar Association v. Goldie, 107 Ohio St. 3d 201, 2005-Ohio-6186 -- Municipal Court judge refused to recuse herself because she had represented the defendant's exwife in divorce proceedings. A Common Pleas Court judge ordered removal. Municipal judge took exception and proceeded to dispose of the case. Public reprimand.

Cleveland Bar Association v. Cleary, 93 Ohio St. 3d 191, 2001-Ohio-1326 -- Former judge's offer of an improper sentencing quid pro quo based on her moral opposition to abortion leads to six month suspension. Syllabus: "A judge acts in a manner 'prejudicial to the administration of justice' within the meaning of DR 1-102(A)(5) when the judge engages in conduct that would appear to an objective observer to be unjudicial and prejudicial to the public esteem for the judicial office." Judge deemed to have exhibited partiality in her sentencing choice based upon whether the defendant acted in accordance with the judge's personal views.

Disciplinary Counsel v. Kiacz, 94 Ohio St. 3d 409, 2002-Ohio-1048 -- Public reprimand to municipal court judge who met with Highway Patrol officers to stress the importance of issuing tickets to keep court revenues level.

Office of Disciplinary Counsel v. Ferreri (2000), 88 Ohio St. 3d 456 -- Judge appeared unannounced in the office of the legal administrator of a child welfare agency, then spoke with her superior, complaining about unreturned phone calls and the agency's position on a issue before the court. Held to be improper ex parte communication warranting a six month suspension, concurrent with suspension imposed in other disciplinary proceedings.

In re Hlavsa (2000), 139 Ohio App. 3d 871 -- A juvenile court judge granted permanent custody of children to a child welfare agency, but was suspended from practice before the order was journalized. Order was void. Order was not saved by journalization by administrative judge acting as the court's ex officio clerk.

Disciplinary Counsel v. Karto, 94 Ohio St. 3d 109, 2002-Ohio-61 -- Six month suspension of common pleas judge rest in part on two improper uses of contempt power: (1) During hearing judge took off his robe, testified, made a closing argument, resumed the bench and found a county employee in contempt, but never imposed a sentence, which would have permitted an appeal. (2) Judge claimed that outside the courthouse the girlfriend of probation violator pointed her finger at him and made a popping sound. She was found in contempt and given a suspended sentence, without the filing of formal charges or being advised of her right to counsel. Also see Disciplinary Counsel v. Hoague 88 Ohio St. 3d 321, 2000-Ohio-340.

Disciplinary Counsel v. Medley, 93 Ohio St. 3d 474, 2001-Ohio-1592 -- Municipal court judge in a small community was too helpful in addressing situations outside of court. Public reprimand for giving an arrestee a ride home, even though her case was not discussed. Judge should have recused himself when the case came up in court. No violation found in helping police by riding an arrestee's motorcycle to the police station or in facilitating release on bond so another arrestee could maintain employment.

Disciplinary Counsel v. Medley, 104 Ohio St. 3d 251, 2004-Ohio-6402 -- Eighteen month suspension, six stayed, to former municipal court judge who: (1) Ex parte disposed of a criminal case without the presence of a prosecutor. (2) Ex parte granted relief from judgment to the county chairman of his party. (3) Collected small claims court judgments by an improper process.

Disciplinary Counsel v. O'Neill, 103 Ohio St. 3d 204, 2004-Ohio-4704 -- Two-year suspension, one stayed, to a common pleas judge based on a pattern of intemperate conduct including threats of bond revocation if cases proceeded to trial, conduct causing a loss of respect for the judicial system, and misconduct during the disciplinary process.

Disciplinary Counsel v. Parker, 116 Ohio St. 3d 64, 2007-Ohio-5635 -- 18-month suspension, 6 months conditionally stayed, to a municipal court judge undergoing treatment for narcissistic personality disorder. Misdeeds included poor treatment of parties, spectators and counsel, misuse of 911, and riding along for the execution of a search warrant he had signed, then presiding when the case was disposed of. He also went off the tracks during disciplinary proceedings.

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