Former Cleveland Prosecutor Suspended for Two Years for Illegally Searching Law Enforcement Database
The Ohio Supreme Court has suspended a Cleveland lawyer and former assistant county prosecutor for two years following his convictions for using a law enforcement database for personal reasons and threatening and harassing his ex-wife.
Rosel C. Hurley III was employed by the Cuyahoga County Prosecutor’s Office between October 2011 and April 2012. While going through a divorce at the time, Hurley accessed the Ohio Law Enforcement Gateway, a statewide law enforcement network that includes criminal histories and other records. Searching the database for personal reasons was prohibited, but Hurley accessed it 30 to 40 times for information about his ex-wife and children. He also made harassing phone calls to his former spouse and threatened to physically harm her.
Hurley pled guilty to multiple felony counts of unauthorized property use and misdemeanor menacing and harassment charges. In February 2013, he was sentenced to community control for one year and fined $5,000.
The Cleveland Metropolitan Bar Association charged Hurley with professional misconduct related to these matters. In March 2013, the Ohio Supreme Court suspended his license on an interim basis because of his felony convictions. The state disciplinary board recommended a two-year suspension with credit for the time he served during the interim suspension.
Court Adjusts Sanction
In a 4-3 per curiam opinion, the court agreed with the board’s misconduct findings and sanction but gave no credit for the interim suspension time. The court noted that this case involves more aggravating factors than a 2012 case cited by the disciplinary board. Hurley was in a position of public trust, had a dishonest motive, did not comply with an Ohio Lawyers Assistance Program (OLAP) contract, and could not recall basic facts about his menacing conviction.
If Hurley applies to be reinstated to practice law, he must be examined by OLAP and follow its treatment recommendations, and he must meet his continuing education requirements and other mandates from the court office that regulates lawyers in the state. If reinstated, Hurley must serve two years of probation to ensure his continued compliance with OLAP’s conditions.
Joining the court’s majority were Chief Justice Maureen O’Connor and Justices Terrence O’Donnell, Sharon L. Kennedy, and Judith L. French.
Justices Paul E. Pfeifer, Judith Ann Lanzinger, and William M. O’Neill would have given Hurley credit for the time he has served during his interim suspension.
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