On Sunday, October 22, 2023, The Colombus Dispatch reported that Geauga County Probate/Juvenile Court Judge and former state lawmaker in Ohio, Tim Grendell, is facing allegations of misconduct, including inappropriately incarcerating two boys who refused to visit their estranged father, blocking a mother from administering COVID-19 tests on her children, and violating other judicial ethics. Grendell will defend himself against the allegations in a multi-day hearing scheduled for late October.
The allegations against Grendell were filed in a 61-page complaint by Joseph Caliguiri, the disciplinary counsel for the Ohio Supreme Court, in November 2022. The complaint includes several instances of alleged misconduct, including the case in May 2020, where Grendell ordered two brothers, ages 15 and 13, to be held in juvenile detention under maximum restrictions after they refused to spend time with their estranged father. The boys were held for three days, during which time they were separated and blocked from calling their mother.
In another custody case from 2017, Grendell dispatched his armed constable to take two children away from their mother. In 2020, he blocked the parents from administering or allowing any COVID-19 tests on the children.
Starting in 2018, Grendell also clashed with Geauga County Auditor Chuck Walder about overpayment of court expenses, trespassing in the auditor’s office, and other allegations. In June 2019, the judge yelled at and threatened Chardon Police Lt. Troy Duncan, who was investigating the auditor’s issues, and threatened Chardon Police Chief Scott Niehus. Grendell later made a presentation about the events to the Geauga Tea Party, casting aspersions about Walder and others.
Moreover, Grendell improperly used his position to testify in favor of his wife’s legislation, which sought to cast doubt on the veracity of the Ohio Department of Health’s statistical reports on COVID-19 during the pandemic.
Grendell has a long history in Ohio elected politics, serving in the Ohio House from 2000 to 2011 and being appointed to the Geauga County Common Pleas Court bench in 2011 by Gov. John Kasich. His wife, Diane, also served as an appeals court judge and returned to the Ohio House from 2019 to 2022.
The hearing on the allegations against Grendell is scheduled for four days, during which he plans to call dozens of witnesses, including state lawmakers and his wife. The three-person panel of the Board of Professional Conduct will consider the case and determine whether Grendell violated judicial ethics and should face disciplinary action.
The allegations against Grendell are concerning, as they suggest a pattern of behavior that undermines the integrity of the judicial system and disregards the rights of those who appear before him. If the allegations are found to be true, it would be a serious breach of the public’s trust and could result in disciplinary action against Grendell.
Source: The Columbus Dispatch