The Ohio Board of Professional Conduct still is awaiting an answer from former Scioto County Common Pleas Judge William Marshall regarding a formal complaint filed by the board’s Disciplinary Counsel against Marshall, according to its website.
That website appears to have last been updated April 30. A call to the board office was not returned.
The Disciplinary Counsel filed a case against Marshall April 27. After approximately 18 years of service to the bench in Portsmouth, Marshall abruptly retired from the bench effective March 16.
The Ohio Board of Professional Conduct is a 28-member quasi-judicial body appointed by the Supreme Court of Ohio consisting of 17 lawyers, seven active or retired judges and four non-lawyers. This is not the first time Marshall has faced official censure from the state. On April 1, 2015, the Ohio Supreme Court reprimanded Marshall following his conviction for operating a motor vehicle while intoxicated, an incident which resulted in a one-car accident.
The latest complaint centers on Marshall’s alleged misconduct following his daughter receiving a ticket from the Ohio State Highway Patrol. Essentially, the complaint, which is available to the public on the board’s website, accuses Marshall of improperly inserting himself into his daughter’s case.
According to the certified complaint, on or about Sept. 1, 2016, Marshall’s 17-year-old daughter was stopped by the state patrol for allegedly speeding and driving with expired tags. The girl called her father on her cell phone. Again, according to the complaint, Marshall ended up speaking with the patrolman on the scene and attempted unsuccessfully to persuade him not to ticket his daughter. The girl was cited for going 64 mph in a 50 mph zone on U.S. 52 in Scioto County.
On an unspecified date, Scioto County prosecutor Jay Willis was in Marshall’s court room on an unrelated matter. The complaint against Marshall states the judge informed Willis he was upset with the trooper who ticketed his daughter.
“I don’t like the trooper,” Marshall told Willis, according to the complaint. “He didn’t listen to me. There used to be a code in this county – I’m a judge and he shouldn’t have written my daughter.”
The complaint alleges Marshall, on different occasions, made further comments about his daughter’s case and the patrol officer’s behavior. Once more according to the complaint, Willis asked to be removed from the case as he believed Marshall was pressuring him inappropriately. After several continuances, the matter was set for a pre-trial in a county juvenile courtroom on April 4, 2017. As a general policy, the juvenile court does not allow anyone other than the lawyers involved in the courtroom for pre-trial conferences. A bailiff reportedly tried to block Marshall from entering, but he physically shoved his way in to the room.
“I’m her father and I am an attorney, and I’m coming in,” Marshall reportedly announced.
During the pre-trial, which was not on the record, Marshall allegedly told the court the trooper involved acted unprofessionally and showed him no professional courtesy. The matter was set for trial Sept. 18, 2017.
According to the filed complaint, prior to the trial, Marshall attempted to insert himself into the situation in a number of ways, including attempting to contact the trooper directly. Ultimately, a court declared Marshall’s daughter a juvenile traffic offender and imposed court costs.
Marshall is required to file an answer to the certified complaint or face the possibility of having his license to practice law revoked by the state Supreme Court. If an answer is received, the case will be assigned to a three-member panel of the disciplinary board. Usually, a public hearing is set for six months after a case is assigned to a hearing panel.
If the board decides Marshall engaged in professional misconduct, it will file a report with the state Supreme Court. The court is responsible for imposing any sanctions or discipline.
Reach Tom Corrigan at 740-353-3101 ext. 1931