Court News Ohio
Court News Ohio
Court News Ohio

Chief Justice Appoints Commission to Consider Richland County Township Trustee Suspension

After waiting the required 14 days, Ohio Supreme Court Chief Justice Maureen O’Connor today appointed a special three-judge commission to consider the suspension of Worthington Township Trustee E. Clark Swank who’s been charged with a felony relating to official conduct in office.

On April 8, Richland County Prosecutor James J. Mayer Jr. filed an action at the Ohio Supreme Court to commence the suspension proceedings.

Ohio Revised Code section 3.16 spells out the process for such actions and establishes that the commission must include retired judges or justices, one of whom must be of the same political party as the public official.

The retired judges named to the commission are:

  • Retired Second District Court of Appeals Judge James A. Brogan.
  • Retired Stark County Common Pleas Court Judge V. Lee Sinclair.
  • Retired Cuyahoga County Common Pleas Court Judge Ronald Suster.

According to the statute, within 14 days, the special commission must make a preliminary determination about whether Swank should be suspended from office. Swank may contest the preliminary determination – if it recommends a suspension – within 14 days of being notified and appear at a commission meeting to present his case. That meeting must be held within 14 days of the notice by Swank to contest the preliminary findings. At the conclusion of the meeting, the special commission would then issue its final determination and issue a written report.

Pursuant to R.C. 3.16(C)(2), “all meetings of the special commission shall be closed to the public” and “the records of the special commission shall not be made available to the public for inspection or copying until the special commission issues its written report.”

R.C. 3.16 most recently was used earlier this year when the Ohio Attorney General asked the Chief Justice to begin suspension proceedings against Athens County Sheriff Patrick Kelly who was charged with felonies relating to official conduct in office.

In that case, the special commission suspended Kelly from office on March 28.

To view the case announcement announcing the appointment of the special three-judge commission in In re Swank, click here.

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