ethics

Former Juvenile Judge Jailed

In 2014, former Hamilton County Juvenile Judge Tracie Hunter was convicted of a felony for giving her brother, a juvenile court employee, confidential information.  Then Judge Norbert Nadel sentenced Ms. Hunter to 6 months in jail.  Since then, Ms. Hunter has appealed the conviction in both state and federal court.  In May 2019, federal court Judge Timothy Black found that Ms. Hunter had received a fair trial.  He refused to comment on the sentence, which he said was for the state court to decide.

On July 22, 2019, now Judge Dinkelacker ordered Ms. Hunter to begin her 6-month jail sentence.  Chaos erupted in the courthouse as Judge Dinkelacker ordered the deputies to take Ms. Hunter into custody.  Hunter went limp in a deputy’s arms, resulting in her being dragged from the courtroom.  Now retired Judge Nadel stated that Ms. Hunter was convicted by a jury, was unrepentant for her misconduct, and the sentence was a correct one. Hunter supporters claim the conviction was politically motivated due to Ms. Hunter, a Democrat, taking a seat formerly held by a Republican.

On October 21, 2014, Ms. Hunter’s Ohio law license was suspended due to her felony conviction.  A felony suspension is an interim suspension.  Now that all appeals or proceedings have been concluded, Ms. Hunter will undergo disciplinary proceedings to determine the length of her suspension from the practice of law.

ethics

Judicial Felon Suspended

On July 1, 2019, the Supreme Court of Ohio suspended the law license of former Mahoning County Common Pleas Court judge Diane Vettori-Caraballo, after a federal judge sentenced her to 30 months in prison.  The prison sentence followed Ms. Vettori-Caraballo’s conviction for stealing from the estate of a deceased client. Ms. Vettori-Caraballo was convicted of mail fraud, structuring bank deposits and making false statements to law enforcement.  The Supreme Court of Ohio suspended her license for an interim period due to her felony conviction pending disciplinary proceedings.

Ms. Vettori-Caraballo was ordered to pay $328,000 in restitution, an amount both her counsel and the prosecutors agreed upon.  The theft occurred from the estate of Ms. Vettori-Caraballo’s former client, Dolores Falgiani.  Ms. Vettori-Caraballo absconded with the money when she found it in cash hidden in Ms. Falgiani’s home after her death in 2016.  Since Ms. Vettori-Caraballo has been a Mahoning County Common Pleas Court judge since her election in 2002, her conduct occurred while she was a sitting judge.

The matter was referred to the Office of Disciplinary Counsel for further investigation says The Vindicator, the Youngstown paper.

 

 

ethics

WEST VIRGINIA CHIEF JUSTICE RESIGNS FOLLOWING FELONY CONVICTION

It has been a busy week in ethics.  On November 14, 2018, Bloomberg BNA reported that Allen H. Loughry, II, Chief Justice of the West Virginia Supreme Court resigned following his felony conviction October 12, 2018, on charges of misuse of public funds.  Justice Loughry resigned as the legislature was meeting to consider removing him from office.  Loughry had been suspended since he and his fellow colleagues on the West Virginia Supreme Court were charged with lavish spending, misuse of state property and failure to oversee the spending operations of the court.

Justice Elizabeth D. Walker, impeached for like conduct in July 2018, was not removed, but rather, was publicly censured.  She replaces Loughry as Chief Justice.  Justice Menis Ketchum resigned in July after pleading guilty to wire fraud charges and misuse of a state credit card.  Justice Robin Davis also resigned.  Justices Margaret Workman and Robin Davis still face impeachment trials.

Loughry was convicted of eleven charges (fraud and swindle; fraud by wire; fraud by wire, radio or television; influence/injuring officer/juror/witness; statements or entries generally), acquitted of ten charges and the jury was hung on one charge alleged in his indictment.

The charges stem from Loughry’s spending of $363,000 on renovations to his office.  He also removed a historic “Cass Gilbert” desk from the state Capitol and took it to his home.  The state legislature began impeachment proceedings due to citizen outrage of the opulent spending.  One delegate noted that the renovation to any individual office was greater than the price of an average home in West Virginia.

http://lawyersmanual.bna.com/morc/3303/split_display.adp?fedfid=143806371&vname=mopcnotallissues&fcn=3&wsn=493156500&fn=143806371&split=0