On Tuesday, February 7, 2023, the Ohio Board of Professional Conduct released its 2022 annual report highlighting the board’s disposition of 47 disciplinary cases, 51 matters for adjudication, including 47 new complaints, and 30 cases pending as of December 31, 2022.

The Board of Professional Conduct is a quasi-independent body established in 1957 to assist the Supreme Court of Ohio in its constitutional obligation to regulate the practice of law. The activities of the board are funded entirely by attorney registration fees assessed by the Supreme Court.

According to the report, there is a four-year trend of increasing judicial misconduct complaints and adjudications. In addition to four cases carried over from December 2021, the board opened three new judicial misconduct cases in 2022 and conducted a total of five judicial misconduct hearings during the year. The majority of these cases involve serious and, in some instances, unprecedented allegations and findings of misconduct by sitting judges. There are two additional hearings that are scheduled for the first half of 2023.

The four cases in 2022 that involved judicial misconduct adjudications are: Disciplinary Counsel v. Thomas O’Diam; Disciplinary Counsel v. Richard A. Lemons; Disciplinary Counsel v. Hon. Pinkey S. Carr, and; Disciplinary Counsel v. Daniel Gaul. 

Moreover, the annual report revealed that there is a continuing shift of discipline-related activity from certified grievance committees to the Office of Disciplinary Counsel. Although grievance committees are responsible for substantially fewer grievance investigations and case prosecutions, the reimbursements to certified grievance committees authorized by Gov. Bar R. V increased in the fiscal year 2022 to a near-record total of $1.925 million.

The 2022 annual report of the Supreme Court of Ohio summarizes the work of the 28 volunteer commissioners and the Board’s four-person staff to promote and enforce the high standards of professional ethics promulgated by the Supreme Court.

 

Source: Ohio Board of Professional Conduct