About This Blog

Entries beginning with a number are a continuation of the old Judging Crimes blog, which was long focused on the two meanings of its name: the way crimes are judged in America, and the, uh... occasional defalcations and derelictions of the berobed.

Judging Crimes took a long hiatus for some of the reasons explained here.

Entries beginning with Book 'em! are book reviews and commentaries. No attention is paid to the imperatives of book marketing. As Calvin Trillin once pointed out, the average shelf life of a book in a bookstore falls somewhere between milk and yogurt, but in these days of long-tail online marketing that matters less to everyone, and I don't see why it should matter at all to reviewers. Most posts will be about books that have been around long past the time when yogurt would have solidified.

Other entries will be... well, I'm curious to find out what the others will be.

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« 431. Mating habits of the domestic judge, Pennsylvania version | Main | 429. The brush-off »

430. Mating habits of the domestic judge, Ohio version

The Florida Supreme Court recently ruled that for a judge to deny justice to victims of intimate partner violence and sadistically toy with them in open court, is, to be entirely candid, just not altogether top-drawer form.  (See post 429.) 

But what if the judge goes one step beyond re-victimizing by knocking off the "re-"? Consider Cleveland  Juvenile Court Judge Joseph Russo:

According to the Supreme Court’s ruling. Russo and his girlfriend became embroiled in an argument while driving home after dinner and drinks at a restaurant in the early morning hours of September 6, 2006. When the argument escalated into a physical altercation, they stopped at a gas station, where the fight continued. Both were arrested and charged with “disorderly conduct intoxicated,” a minor misdemeanor. Later that month, Russo signed a waiver admitting his guilt and paid a $100 fine.

Then in the early morning hours of July 4, 2007, another physical altercation ensued after an argument between Russo and the girlfriend at the couple’s condominium. A neighbor called police, but by the time police arrived, Russo had left the condominium to check into a nearby hotel.

Police interviewed the girlfriend, who asked for a domestic violence temporary protection order. Police also interviewed Russo, who initially denied the fight. When police told him of the domestic-violence charge, however, he claimed that his girlfriend had attacked him. The next day, the Rocky River Municipal Court granted a domestic-violence temporary protection order against respondent.

In early March 2008, the domestic-violence charge was amended to “disorderly conduct persistent,” a misdemeanor of the fourth degree. Russo pleaded no contest and was convicted. Later that month, Russo received a 30-day suspended jail sentence and was ordered to continue counseling for alcohol abuse and anger management. He was also placed on probation for one year and was fined $250.

There was no fight, officer, but she started it.  So he's a liar as well as a batterer (sorry - disorderly conductor). 

And as a result, the Ohio Supreme Court ruled sternly, he would be allowed to stay on the bench.  However, the high court decreed, the meaningless six-month suspension of Judge Russo's law license recommended by the disciplinary board wasn't enough.  After all, it was a purely symbolic suspension so long as the judge remained in his full-time juvie court position.

"A sanction more rigorous than the board's recommendation is required."  So the court sternly upped it to a meaningless twelve-month suspension of the judge's law license, and then suspended the suspension, restoring the status quo.  Take that, Judge Russo!

Reader Comments (1)

I read your blog and I'm not surprised. The courts are just plain scary. I appealed a small claims decision to the Ohio Appellate, who remanded it back for reconsideration, due to the small claims magistrate's "complete disregard for the law". The App. decision was filed 6-4. However, the Small Claims has already set it for a hearing without even waiting to see if the unsuccessful person intends to appeal to the Supreme Court or ask for reconsideration of his loss.

I am representing myself and there is very little case law or direction on reconsiderations.
June 15, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterLois Wallace

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