Court Permanently Denies Applicant Permission to Take Ohio Bar Examination
The Supreme Court of Ohio today permanently barred Jay Michael Wiseman of Bowling Green from admission to the practice of law in Ohio.
In a 7-0 per curiam opinion, the court adopted the recommendation of its Board of Commissioners on Character and Fitness that Wiseman be permanently barred from taking the Ohio bar examination based on findings that he had “demonstrated a disturbing pattern of violating the laws of this state and other states, engaged in prohibited self-dealing while serving as the fiduciary of a trust, knowingly violated the rules of the university he attended, and engaged in a pattern of lies and half-truths throughout the admissions process.”
The court noted that Wiseman has a extensive record of more than a dozen moving traffic violations that include incidents in which he endangered the safety of others, that he has been cited for non-traffic offenses including criminal damaging, public intoxication, disorderly conduct and receiving stolen property, and that he violated the terms of a family insurance trust over which he exercised control by unilaterally diverting all but $256 of the $75,000 proceeds to his own use despite multiple warnings by his father’s attorney and his younger brother’s guardian ad litem that he was not legally authorized to do so.
The court also identified multiple instances in which Wiseman responded to inquiries from bar admissions officials in both Florida and Ohio about his legal, personal and financial affairs by providing inaccurate, incomplete, or misleading information, refused to acknowledge the wrongfulness of his prior conduct, and generally demonstrated what the board perceived to be “a selective disregard for the law.”
Quoting from the state bar governance rules that set standards for the admission of attorneys, the court wrote: “‘A record manifesting a significant deficiency in the honesty, trustworthiness, diligence, or reliability of an applicant may constitute a basis for disapproval of the applicant.’ Gov.Bar R. I(11)(D)(3). ... Wiseman has engaged in a lengthy pattern of traffic offenses and a lesser pattern of criminal conduct that demonstrate a perverse disregard for the safety and well-being of others. He has taken shortcuts, knowingly violated rules, sued his father, who had expressed legitimate concerns about his financial responsibility, and knowingly violated his fiduciary duties as a trustee by misappropriating $75,000 held in trust. ... Moreover, he has engaged in a pervasive pattern of lies and omissions throughout this admissions process in an effort to conceal his past conduct and convince this court that he possesses the requisite character, fitness, and moral qualifications to practice law in the state of Ohio.”
“Given the seriousness of Wiseman’s conduct and character deficits, we agree that he has not established that he possesses the requisite character fitness, and moral qualifications to practice law in this state. ... Accordingly, we disapprove Wiseman’s pending application and forever bar him from applying for the privilege to practice law in this state.”
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2012-1633. In re Application of Wiseman, Slip Opinion No. 2013-Ohio-763.
Jay Michael Wiseman’s pending application to take the bar examination is disapproved, and he is forever barred from applying for the privilege to practice law in this state.
O’Connor, C.J., and Pfeifer, O’Donnell, Lanzinger, Kennedy, French, and O’Neill, JJ., concur.
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