08:14, December 18 400 0 abajournal.com

2017-12-18 08:14:05
Lawyer goes to jail for trial boycott; he also refused judge’s request to step back from the bench

An Ohio lawyer will have to serve a 30-day contempt sentence for refusing to participate in a trial after the state supreme court denied his motion for a stay.

K. Ronald Bailey went to jail on Dec. 11, the Sandusky Register reports here and here. The state supreme court refused to grant a stay on Wednesday. The Legal Profession Blog notes the case.

Bailey had refused to participate in the October 2016 child sexual-abuse trial of Sandusky pastor Richard Mick, according to a Dec. 8 opinion by the Ohio Court of Appeals that upheld the sanction. Bailey had said he was not prepared for trial, though he had been on the case for 11 months.

Bailey had also refused to comply when Judge Roger Binette told him three times that he “may step back” from the bench, according to the Register. Bailey’s reply: “I know I may but I won’t.”

On appeal, Bailey argued the trial court had erred by confusing the permissive word “may” with the mandatory word “shall.” The appeals court did not consider the argument, however, because the contempt sentence was not imposed until Bailey refused the judge’s repeated orders to participate in the trial.

Bailey had requested eight trial continuances. The opinion lists these reasons as most notable: The trial date should be moved because it was “Ohio Bike Week” and there would be no parking near the courthouse; Bailey would be jet-lagged after attending his son’s wedding in Las Vegas; his client needed more time to find expert testimony; and his client was in the hospital with gout before the trial.

Bailey’s appeal had contended the judge had erred “by refusing to substitute a live appointed expert for a dead appointed expert.” The judge had refused additional expert fees because half of the original expert funds were still available, and Mick was able to pay Bailey as his retained counsel.

The appeals court said the trial judge did not abuse his discretion in finding Bailey in contempt, as Bailey “indeed failed to follow direct and lawful orders of the court without justification.”

Mick was sentenced to life in prison after jurors convicted him, the Register reported in October 2016.