PORTSMOUTH — Portsmouth Attorney Michael Mearan has been ordered to immediately cease and desist from the practice of law in any form.
According to a decision made by the Ohio Supreme Court filed Feb. 5, Mearan will not be allowed to counsel, advise, or prepare legal instruments for others or in any manner perform legal services for others.
The decision was made by the court after disciplinary counsel filed with the court a motion for an immediate interim remedial suspension on Feb. 1. The motion alleged that Mearan has engaged in conduct that violates the Ohio Rules of Professional Conduct and poses a substantial threat of serious harm to the public.
In the documents filed, the disciplinary counsel stated it had credible evidence that Mearan engaged in human trafficking of at least five of his clients.
“Upon consideration thereof and pursuant to Gov.Bar R. V(l 9)(B), it is ordered and decreed that an interim remedial suspension is immediately entered against Michael Hugh Mearan, Attorney Registration No. 0029403, last known business address in Portsmouth, Ohio, and that the suspension be effective as of the date of this entry, pending final disposition of disciplinary proceedings predicated on the conduct threatening the serious harm,” documents stated.
The Court also ordered Mearan to notify all clients being represented in pending matters and any co-counsel of respondent’s suspension and consequent disqualification to act as an attorney, notify the clients to seek legal services elsewhere, and refund any part of any fees or expenses paid in advance that are unearned or not paid and account for any trust money or property in respondent’s possession or control.
Ohio Attorney General Dave Yost and Scioto County Prosecutor Shane Tieman announced Friday, Oct. 23, the indictment of Mearan on 18 felony counts related to human trafficking spanning 15 years.
Mearan pleaded not guilty to all 18 charges at the Scioto County Common Court of Pleas, where his bond was set at $300,000. Mearan posted his $300,000 bail on Oct. 28, through the Jim Peach Bail Bond Services, with an ankle monitor and surrendering his passport and agreeing not to leave the state.
According to court records, Mearan was representing himself in court. On Nov. 18, Mearan requested a Notice of Appearance and court records filed from that date show Mearan as his own counsel. Mearan also filed a Motion to Compel Discovery on behalf of himself, which is a request for evidence, documents, and other information from the opposition.
Prosecutors filed a motion with the court Jan. 20, to not allow Mearan to represent himself. If Mearan were to be permitted to represent himself, he would have the ability to cross-examine his alleged victims.
If convicted, Mearan can face up to 70 years in prison.
Reach Adam Black at (740) 353-3101 ext. 1927, or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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