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Professional Responsibility Keyed to Martyn
Disciplinary Counsel v. Stuard
Citation:901 N.E.2d 788 (Ohio 2009)
The Disciplinary Counsel (Petitioner) brought disciplinary charges against John Stuard (Respondent), an Ohio state judge, based on his ex parte communications with county prosecutors regarding the preparation of a sentencing order. Judge Stuard was presiding over a capital murder trial, and the defendant was found guilty of two counts of aggravated murder, among other crimes. Between the penalty phase hearing of the trial and the sentencing hearing later that month, Judge Stuard engaged in improper ex parte communications four times with the assistant county prosecutor about the sentencing opinion, including the provision of the judge’s notes on the aggravating circumstances and mitigating factors that he had weighed in deciding the death sentence was appropriate.
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