Tuesday, July 24, 2012

OH Judge Rastatter's Disciplinary Case Rare

A former member of a state disciplinary board that hears complaints against judges and lawyers said how the board dismissed a complaint against a Clark County common pleas judge was rare but not unheard of.

Judge Douglas Rastatter was cleared of wrongdoing earlier this month after a two-day hearing when his attorneys asked for two of the six counts to be dismissed. The panel instead dismissed the entire case, which included allegations of failing to uphold the integrity of the judiciary.

Michael E. Murman, a private practice attorney with Murman & Associates in Lakewood, was a member of the Board of Grievances and Discipline at the Ohio Supreme Court from 2001 to 2003 and has since argued cases before the panel.

Even if there is enough in the complaint to constitute a violation, disciplinary panels can exercise discretion for judges who they feel are not likely to put themselves in similar situations again, Murman said.

“Our job is to protect the public from lawyer and judge misconduct. If it’s not necessary … what would be the point of sending this to the Supreme Court? It’s not about punishing lawyers and judges. Sanctions are a way to protect the public and the legal system,” Murman said.

Murman said Rastatter’s testimony and demeanor could have suggested to the panel that he had learned from mistakes.

He also said the friction with local defense attorneys Richard Mayhall and John R. Butz, who initiated the 13-page complaint, may have also played a role in the dismissal.

Disciplinary action against judges is rare in Ohio. For example, only four judges have been disbarred in more than 50 years.

Since 2007, less than 20 judicial misconduct cases have been filed with the Ohio Supreme Court, compared to more than 500 cases involving attorneys.

During that time, 10 judges have faced sanctions ranging from a public reprimand to disbarment. And each year, it’s estimated that only a handful of cases that have been brought before a state disciplinary panel involving lawyers and judges get dismissed.

Full Article and Source:
Judge's Disciplinary Case Rare

See Also:
Ohio Judge Rastatter Wins Conduct Case


StandUp said...

This case is an example of what is being said in the two article above.

Judges should not be above the law. Moreover, they should be held to a higher standard becuase of the position they hold.

Mike said...

The biggest problem with the legal system is it's self-governing. And they all stand together in their little robes and protect each other.

Anonymous said...

Only a handful are dismissed?
Gimme a break!
My experience on a judicial kickback complaint was dismissal without an ivnestigation, despite the statutory requirement that if a complaint were facially meritorious, it "shall" be investigated. What could be more facially meritirious than a $20,000 kickback claim?
Although it's usually a waste of time to file a discipline complaint against a judge, WE MUST BOMBARD THEM WITH COMPLAINTS to stop the summary dismissals and make them pay attention!.

Too old to think straight said...

When a murderer tells the court he of she has "learned from (his or her) mistakes," and probably will not allow himself or herself to get in that situation again, the murderer should get the case dismissed through the same thought process and understanding, judges get.
Is it really protecting the legal system and protecting citizens to continue to make citizens feel only they can commit a crime, and feel frightened at the prospect of making a complaint on a judge, and by allowing dishonest judges to get off? After all, bad judges don't commit murder, only citizens who are not judges do. That is a no-brainer. Every citizen believes (or is led to believe) that.

Too old to think straight said...

Dear anonymous,
How can be make complaints when we citizens are too afraid to say our names?

Dear, standup,
Shouldn't, a higher standard, be defined by somebody? It sounds kind-a vague. That vagueness could be construed as a loophole in the higher standard law. Is there a higher standard law?

Dear Mike,
Everybody knows that the judges govern the U. S. It is a tough job governing the U. S. They have to stand together against the citizens, or the citizens will take over. Everybody knows that.