When a Judge goes out of bounds....

Submitted by Jeff Buster on Wed, 01/13/2010 - 19:21.
cuyahoga county judge daniel gaul image jeff buster 12.14.07
Filing an ethics complaint against a Judge is serious business.  And having such a complaint upheld by The Board of Commissioners on  Grievances and Discipline of the Supreme Court of Ohio means the complaint was found to be meritorious. 
 
 It would appear that  Attorney John Parker,  a public defender who appeared before  Cuyahoga County Common Pleas Judge Daniel Gaul in a criminal case in November 2007, believed Judge Gaul went beyond bounds.    (I don’t know that it was Mr. Parker who filed the grievance, because once a grievance is filed and found to be substantial, the grievance complaint is pursued by the Disciplinary Counsel on behalf of the complainant. However, it would be consistent with the objections to Judge Gaul’s rulings which Atty. Parker made at the Robinson trial if Mr. Parker followed up with a grievance.)
 
Plain Dealer Reporter Reginald Fields has reported today that Judge Gaul  “is being penalized for threatening to jail a defendant in an assault case if the 83-year-old victim/witness did not show up to testify in a 2007 case.”
 
About two weeks after Judge Gaul made threats in the  Robinson criminal case, Judge Gaul was involved with the Myers University sale/closing/bankruptcy matter.
 
It would appear that Judge Gaul’s use of threats to move cases in the direction he believed they should go was not limited to the Robinson case, which is the basis of the present grievance.
 
Judge Gaul threatened Mr. Scaldini, the Myers University president at the time, with 24 hours in jail if Mr. Scaldini did not resign as president.
 
On December 14, 2007, (coincidentally just a few weeks after the Robinson matter),  as reported here on Realneo, “ I  asked J.Gaul at the press Q&A this afternoon if it was appropriate for a judge to use the threat of jail time as a coercive tool in an attempt to get Mr. Scaldini to do something which Mr. Scaldini did not have to do – ie, quit as president of Myers.  The Judge didn’t respond to my question explicitly, but gestured by nodding his head side to side saying  - some may think that is the case, and they can appeal .."
 
Appeal?
 
In 2007 I wrote: “I would say, however, that J. Gaul sounded more like an economic development advocate, than a neutral, disinterested judge.”
 
I was not a party to the Myers University debacle, but even at that time I had the very strong feeling that J. Gaul was acting outside the role of a jurist.   
 
Anyone who has been involved in a criminal or civil matter in court knows that it is complex and trying facing your adversary.   If you are forced to face both your adversary and the Judge, then the system is clearly out of balance and inequitable.  
 
My hat is off to whom ever filed the initial grievance in this matter.  Filing and pursuing a grievance is thankless work, and may subject the complaintant to professional fall out from peers.   NEO needs more people who stand up against the machine, and NEO needs competent review boards who are capable of letting the chips fall where they may....

 luck of the irish daniel gaul cuyahoga common pleas court image jeff buster

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great story

Thanks, JBuster.