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Cleveland Judge Receives Stayed License Suspension

2010-0062.  Disciplinary Counsel v. Gaul, Slip Opinion No. 2010-Ohio-4831.
On Certified Report by the Board of Commissioners on Grievances and Discipline, No. 09-006.  Daniel Gaul, Attorney Registration No. 0009721, is suspended from the practice of law in Ohio for six months, stayed on condition.
Pfeifer, Lundberg Stratton, O'Donnell, and Cupp, JJ., concur.
O'Connor and Lanzinger, JJ., dissent and would suspend respondent from the practice of law in Ohio for one year, all stayed.
Brown, C.J., not participating.
Opinion: http://www.supremecourt.ohio.gov/rod/docs/pdf/0/2010/2010-Ohio-4831.pdf

Video clip View oral argument video of this case.

(Oct. 7, 2010) The Supreme Court of Ohio today imposed a six-month suspension, with the full term of suspension stayed on conditions, against the law license of Judge Daniel Gaul of the Cuyahoga County Court of Common Pleas based on his actions and statements in a 2007 criminal case before his court.  

In a 4-2 per curiam decision, the Court adopted findings by the Board of Commissioners on Grievances & Discipline that Gaul improperly attempted to initiate an “Amber Alert” for two witnesses who had failed to appear for the defendant’s scheduled trial, and made improper public statements in court and during an in-chambers meeting with the news media in which he asserted his belief that the defendant had intimidated or interfered with the missing witnesses when there was no factual evidence in the record to support those assertions. The Court agreed with the disciplinary board’s conclusions that Gaul’s actions constituted conduct prejudicial to the administration of justice, manifested bias against the defendant, and called into question his own impartiality and the fairness and impartiality of the judicial process.

The Court’s majority opinion was joined by Justices Paul E. Pfeifer, Evelyn Lundberg Stratton, Terrence O’Donnell and Robert R. Cupp. Justices Maureen O’Connor and Judith Ann Lanzinger dissented, stating that they would impose a stayed one-year license suspension as the appropriate sanction for Judge Gaul’s misconduct.

Chief Justice Eric Brown did not participate in the court’s deliberations or decision in this case.

Jonathan E. Coughlan, 614.461.0256, for the Office of Disciplinary Counsel.

Richard C. Alkire, 216.674.0550, for Judge Daniel Gaul.

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