|Former county Probate Judge Mark Belinky|
A veteran lawyer who has practiced extensively in the Mahoning County Courthouse offered this analogy to former county Probate Judge Mark Belinky’s sins of commission regarding guardianships: “It’s like a father coming home from work each day, knocking on his daughter’s bedroom door, entering and then proceeding to sexually abuse her because he knows she’s defenseless.”
The well-known lawyer, who spoke to us on condition of anonymity, was furious over Belinky’s admission that he stole money from people for whom he was a guardian and that he altered probate court documents to facilitate the theft. Belinky, who resigned from the bench in March 2014 in the midst of a criminal investigation into his activities, also admitted he used a probate court computer to create false probate court records.
The admissions were contained in affidavits filed by Ed Carlini, a special agent with the Ohio Bureau of Investigation.
“The first responsibility of a probate judge is to protect the people he is a guardian of,” the lawyer pointed out. “These are people who can’t take care of themselves. The probate judge has ultimate guardianship over individuals and over money.”
He described Belinky as a “depraved soul” for stealing from the handicapped – mentally or physically – who are at the mercy of the court.
We not only endorse that characterization of the former judge, but we would go a step further and say that he should be publicly condemned by all honest, law-abiding residents of this area. Why? Because Belinky presented himself as a paragon of virtue and the slayer of corrupt politicians when he ran for the judgeship in 2008, after being appointed in 2007 by then Democratic Gov. Ted Strickland.
In a May 2014 editorial after he had pleaded guilty to violating campaign-finance laws, we noted that he had resigned because agents from the BCI had a litany of criminal charges they were prepared to file against him if he did not cooperate with them in their wide-ranging investigation of government corruption in the Mahoning Valley.
APPEAL FOR SPECIAL MASTER
Belinky avoided jail time because he is said to be cooperating with investigators and the FBI, but given the latest revelations about his activities as a judge, we believe a fuller, independent investigation of his tenure on the bench is demanded.
We call on Ohio Supreme Court Chief Justice Maureen O’Connor to appoint a special master to determine the extent of Belinky’s criminal behavior.
The one question that demands to be answered is this: Was he acting alone, or were there other participants in the scheme to steal from some of society’s most vulnerable?
We find this case particularly egregious because we, along with lawyers specializing in probate law and the public, came to view Belinky as the exception to the political-corruption rule in Mahoning County.
GAMING THE SYSTEM
He was eminently qualified to serve on the bench because he had long practiced in the court. Now we see that he used his knowledge and experience to game the system. (Continue Reading)
Full Article & Source:
Ohio Supreme Court urged to review Belinky’s tenure
Former Probate Judge Mark Belinky Answers Questions About His Resignation
Ohio Mahong County Probate Judge Mark Belinky Resigns!