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Disciplinary Counsel v. Stuard

Supreme Court of Ohio
901 N.E.2d 788 (2009)


Facts

Judge John Stuard and attorney Christopher Becker (plaintiffs) were the presiding judge and prosecutor in a capital murder trial. After the jury found the defendant guilty, Judge Stuard asked Becker to prepare and write the court’s sentencing opinion for the sentencing hearing. Becker drafted the opinion, Stuard reviewed it and noted corrections, and Becker made the corrections. Defense counsel was unaware of any of these communications until it became obvious at the sentencing hearing that the prosecutors had prior access to the sentencing opinion. A state disciplinary board (plaintiff) held that Stuard and Becker had violated the rules of judicial and professional conduct, and the case came before the supreme court of Ohio for determination of appropriate sanctions.

Rule of Law

Issue

Holding and Reasoning (Per curiam)

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