On Friday, June 21, 2024, the Ohio Disciplinary Counsel filed a complaint against Portsmouth Municipal Court Judge Russell Kegley with the Board of Professional Conduct.

The complaint alleges four counts of misconduct related to Judge Kegley’s handling of a case involving his son, Case Kegley. In late May 2023, Case was arrested and charged with domestic violence and resisting arrest following an altercation with his wife, Erin Keams Kegley, at their home.

According to the complaint, Judge Kegley identified himself as a judge when calling the Scioto County Jail around 1 a.m. on May 26th to speak with his son. It is further alleged that during this phone call, Judge Kegley instructed the jail officer to allow Case to sign his own bond and be released, despite policies requiring anyone charged with domestic violence to appear before a judge.

When the officer expressed unease with releasing Case, Judge Kegley reportedly told him to contact his supervisor. Case was later released without notifying the alleged victim. He returned to the shared home, leading the prosecutor’s office to request a welfare check on Erin when she did not arrive at work. Case was then rearrested with a warrant for failing to appear in court.

The complaint says Judge Kegley visited the jail afterward to see his son but left when told of the no-contact policy for family of inmates. It is alleged the judge acknowledged overstepping boundaries in a later phone call with Case when declining to help secure his release.

Judge Kegley is accused of violating judicial conduct rules requiring judges to act in a manner promoting public confidence, avoid using their position to help others, keeping family ties from influencing work, and not engage in one-sided communications.

If found guilty, Judge Kegley could face sanctions from the board like reprimand, suspension, or permanent removal from the bench.

Judge Kegley has served as a Portsmouth municipal court judge since 2013.

A copy of the original filing can be found here.