Friday, January 14, 2000
Ethics complaint misfiled
Panel doesn't investigate judges
BY JANICE MORSE
The Cincinnati Enquirer
HAMILTON The Butler County prosecutor's complaint against a county judge was directed to an agency that has no power to act on it.
Prosecutor John F. Holcomb, a Democrat whose campaign fund-raising practices were the subject of an Ohio Ethics Commission referral from Ohio Auditor James Petro, has said he filed ethics complaints against two Republican officeholders: County Auditor Kay Rogers and County Area I Court Judge Rob Lyons.
Both Ms. Rogers and Mr. Lyons say they did nothing wrong, and that they think Mr. Holcomb's actions call for him to be replaced as their legal adviser.
David E. Freel, executive director of the ethics commission, on Thursday emphasized that he can say nothing specific about any case because his agency investigates in secret. But Mr. Freel said any allegations involving judges are outside the jurisdiction of the Ohio Ethics Commission.
He also said, Generally, the commission does not have circumstances where public officials are filing complaints against each other.
Mr. Holcomb and Judge Lyons did not return telephone calls Thursday.
Jonathan Coughlan, disciplinary counsel for the Ohio Supreme Court, said Mr. Holcomb's allegation against Judge Lyons is a type of complaint that could be handled by his office.
Mr. Holcomb accuses Judge Lyons of allowing his law firm, Lyons & Lyons, to accept money the county paid on behalf of clients who cannot afford attorneys. In November, the county paid $10,000 to attorney Robert C. Schwieterman, an ex-associate of the Lyons firm. The money was paid for Mr. Schwieterman's representation of indigent clients in cases from 1997 to 1999, for which he failed to ask for payment earlier.
Those cases happened in West Chester's Area II court; Judge Lyons presides in Oxford's Area I court.
But Mr. Holcomb says by law all area courts are considered part of the same court system, so it would be improper or illegal for a judge's law firm to receive money from any of the individual courts.
City bets $10M on covering Fort Washington Way
Experts: Riverfront plan needed
Political pressure blamed for street deception
Teen's essay leads to murder charge
Kroger cover-up puzzles one 'Cosmo' woman
Martin Luther King Day events
Fertilizer spill's estimate growing
Suspect eludes police chase
Tobacco windfall revised
Ethics complaint misfiled
Rose's former bookie acquitted of assault on officer
Scripps to give candidates free TV time
Queen City's moments to shine reflected in book
Cast is risk, strength of 'Angels'
GET TO IT
Long-distance friends find love
Love your mother-in-law
Baptists' bill finds gray area
Boater hopes to top 317-mph feat
Boone gets another proposal for mine
Butler County clears brush, tree debris
Butler's new Y, hospital team up
Children Services board vacant
City vacancies key topic at retreat
Corporex boos idea of a procurement law
Devou Park killing sent to grand jury
Ex-Voinovich aide hired as Taft cabinet official
Hey, Ft. Thomas: Speak up on schools
I-75 study receives funding OK
Lebanon again part of conference it co-founded
Levy for street repairs on Mount Healthy ballot
Ludlow citizens demand cease-fire
Man will serve at least 18 years for murder
Parents' workshop covers topics on disability
Plant called polluter
Student body makes best of makeover
Warren jail is full again
Water break leaves bus-size crater in street
Woman retains her 'right to gripe'