In February, former Scioto County Common Pleas Court Judge William Marshall was suspended for six months following attempts to influence the outcome of his daughter’s speeding ticket.
When a police officer stopped her, Judge Marshall’s daughter telephoned him. Judge Marshall spoke with the police officer, who, thereafter, issued a speeding ticket to his daughter. Later Judge Marshall stated: “There used to be a code in this county — I’m a Judge and he should not have written my daughter a speeding ticket.” Thereafter, Judge Marshall attempted to discuss the matter with an Assistant Prosecutor assigned to the case. Feeling uncomfortable, the Assistant Prosecutor asked the City Prosecutor to handle Judge Marshall’s daughter’s case.
About a month later, Judge Marshall requested the presiding magistrate to appoint counsel to his daughter. He confided to the Magistrate off the record that he disliked the trooper and wanted to get him in trouble. When the trooper declined to meet with the Judge to discuss the matter as part of a settlement, the Judge called him a vulgar name.
At trial, both the trooper and Judge Marshall testified. Judge Marshall requested to be considered an expert on the recalibration of police radar due to his employment in 1994 as a city prosecuting attorney. He stated he went to the academy many times to be taught how the radar equipment worked. He claimed the only way the trooper could prove the accuracy of the radar was to bring the tuning forks into court. He requested that the court delay a decision until after the trooper had done so.
The magistrate was prepared to issue an order; however, the prosecuting attorney requested that she write it but delay releasing it as he had a felony trial before Judge Marshall the following week and he did not want it to be influenced by an adverse decision in his daughter’s traffic case. The magistrate delayed issuing the opinion. She found Judge Marshall’s daughter to be a juvenile traffic offender and set a disposition hearing.
Judge Marshall then called the magistrate indicating that she could not rule against his daughter unless there was an expert testifying to the accuracy of the radar equipment. Ultimately, the Judge accused her of questioning his credibility before ending the telephone call. The magistrate announced the decision and imposed court costs and points.
After the Office of Disciplinary Counsel filed the Complaint against Judge Marshall, he resigned from office. Entering into a consent to discipline, Mr. Marshall agreed to violations of several judicial rules, including failing to act at all times in a manner that promotes public confidence in the judiciary, abusing the prestige of judicial office, and exhibiting bias or prejudice in the performance of his judicial duties. The Supreme Court of Ohio issued a six-month suspension.