Lest there by any uncertainty, Ohio attorneys are NOT permitted to download pornography of children under 12 and maintain their license. On July 18, 2020, the Supreme Court of Ohio indefinitely suspended David Conners for his felony conviction on one count of illegal use of a minor in nudity-oriented material saying it adversely reflected on his honesty, trustworthiness and fitness to practice law.
Conners stipulated to the download and use of the photos on his electronic devices. He testified he did not know doing so was a felony since the children were not engaged in sexual activity but were merely posing nude. He understood that pornography involving underage children inherently victimizes the children. He further testified that the download of the material was not an accident.
The Supreme Court of Ohio adopted the Board’s finding that such conduct violated Ohio Prof.Cond.R. 8.4(b) prohibiting lawyers from engaging in conduct that adversely reflects on the lawyer’s honesty and trustworthiness and Prof.Cond.R. 8.4(h) (engaging in conduct that adversely reflects on the lawyer’s fitness to practice law. The offense is considered a crime of moral turpitude.
An indefinite suspension prohibits Conners from applying for reinstatement of his law license for at least two years. When he does apply for reinstatement, he must demonstrate that he has the requisite character and fitness to practicing law as though he were applying for a law license for the first time.
The full opinion can be reviewed at 2020-Ohio-3339.