Franklin County Criminal Law Casebook
Reproduced with permission from
David L. Strait and the Franklin County Public Defender Office
Also see Referees
and Magistrates; Judgment;
Jurisdiction; Mayor's Courts;
Evidence, Rules of/Evid. R. 614 -
Interrogation of Witnesses by Court; Contempt.
Powers and duties
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
Title 21 -- Courts: Probate and Juvenile.
Title 23 -- Courts: Common Pleas.
Title 25 -- Courts: Appellate.
Title 27 -- Courts: General provisions and
Criminal Rule 25 -- Disability of a judge.
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.
State v. Landers, 188 Ohio App. 3d
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
transferred the case to the Clermont County Municipal Court. That court refuses
to accept jurisdiction.
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
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
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.
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
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
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.
rel. Martin v. Mannen, 113 Ohio St. 3d 373,
2007-Ohio-2078 -- The requirement within
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.
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
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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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
State ex rel. Key v. Spicer, 91 Ohio St.
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
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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.
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
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
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.
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
State v. Stafford, 158 Ohio App. 3d
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.
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
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
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
State v. Alexander, Carroll App. No. 03
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
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
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
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.
For discussion of when recusal is required in
federal district court, see Litkey v. United States (1994), 510 U.S.
State v. Webb, 173
Ohio App. 3d 547,
2007-Ohio-5670 ¶22-23 – Claims of judicial bias will not be addressed by an
R.C. 2701.03 provides the exclusive means by which a litigant may address
claims of bias and prejudice against a trial court judge.
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.
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
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,
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.
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
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,
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
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
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
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,
In re Disqualification of O'Neill, 100
Ohio St. 3d 1228,
In re Disqualification of O'Neill, 100
Ohio St. 3d 1230,
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
In re Disqualification of Bond, 94 Ohio St.
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.
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
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
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."
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
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
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
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
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.
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
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.
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,
Disciplinary Counsel v. Medley, 93 Ohio St.
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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