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March 20, 2009
Supreme Court Appoints Disciplinary Task Force

A new Supreme Court of Ohio task force charged with reviewing the disciplinary process for lawyers and judges met for the first time Thursday.

Appointed by Chief Justice Thomas J. Moyer, the 18-member group includes the Supreme Court’s Disciplinary Counsel, the Secretary to the Board of Commissioners on Grievances & Discipline, judges, attorneys and law professors. Chief Justice Moyer designated Columbus attorney Samuel H. Porter of Porter, Wright, Morris & Arthur as chair of the task force.

“This task force will conduct a comprehensive review of the current disciplinary system and determine whether it provides the most effective and efficient means of investigating, prosecuting and adjudicating allegations of professional misconduct on the part of Ohio’s lawyers and judges,” Chief Justice Moyer said. “I look forward to receiving a report from the task force that specifically addresses the issues of timeliness, process and cost related to the current decentralized certified grievance committee system and whether changes to that system are necessary.”

The appointment of the task force follows the Court’s adoption within the last two years of new rules governing the conduct of lawyers (2007) and judges (2009).

Chief Justice Moyer said that he has asked the Task Force to Review the Ohio Disciplinary System to submit its report and recommendations by the end of the year. It’s expected that the Court will use the following year to consider the recommendations, publish for public comment any new or revised rules that change the disciplinary structure and review/revise the recommendations in light of those comments.

This is the first comprehensive review of the disciplinary process undertaken by the Supreme Court in at least the last 20 years. The last series of major amendments occurred in the late 1990s based on recommendations from a committee appointed by the Ohio State Bar Association.

Members of the task force include:

Samuel H. Porter, Columbus attorney with Porter, Wright, Morris & Arthur (chair)
Sandra J. Anderson, Columbus attorney with Vorys, Sater, Seymour & Pease LLP
James D. Caruso, Toledo attorney with Williams DeClark & Tuschman Co., LPA
John Cotner, Troy attorney
Jonathan Coughlan, Supreme Court of Ohio Disciplinary Counsel
Dean Jack A. Guttenberg, Capital University Law School
Dan L. Heinlen, president of DLH, LLC
James J. Johnson, Cincinnati attorney
Janine H. Jones, Columbus attorney with Baker & Hostetler LLP
Gary Leppla, Dayton attorney and Ohio State Bar Association president
Jonathan Marshall, Secretary to the Board of Commissioners on Grievances & Discipline
Richard S. Milligan, Canton attorney with Buckingham, Doolittle & Burroughs LLP
Judge Dixilene N. Park, Stark County Probate Court
Christopher F. Parker, Toledo attorney with Goranson, Parker & Bella Co., LPA
Frank E. Quirk, Akron attorney with Brouse McDowell
Judge Lee Sinclair, Stark County Common Pleas Court
Professor Ann Marie Tracey, Xavier University
Judge Mary Jane Trapp, 11th District Court of Appeals

Contact: Chris Davey or Bret Crow at 614.387.9250.