Goldberg's daughter said the family is pleased with the ruling.
By BOB JACKSON
VINDICATOR COURTHOUSE REPORTER
YOUNGSTOWN -- The judge who ordered a search and seizure of suspended lawyer Richard Goldberg's home and office last year won't fight a court ruling that says he was wrong.
"I'm bound by the Supreme Court's decision, clearly," said Judge Timothy P. Maloney of Mahoning County Probate Court.
The Ohio Supreme Court ruled 5-2 Wednesday that Judge Maloney lacked jurisdiction to have Goldberg's property confiscated. The decision affirmed a similar ruling by the 7th District Court of Appeals in November 2000.
"If the Supreme Court says the court of appeals was right, so be it," Judge Maloney said.
Family's response: Goldberg's daughter, Atty. Kelly Herman, said family members are pleased with the decision but declined to comment further because they had not seen it.
Atty. Charles Dunlap, who represents Goldberg's family, was not available to comment.
Goldberg is a former medical malpractice attorney serving a federal prison sentence for bilking clients out of millions of dollars from settlements. Authorities say he used the money to finance his lavish lifestyle, which included airplanes, fur coats, jewelry and a stable of expensive cars.
More than a year ago, Judge Maloney ordered authorities in Mahoning and Trumbull counties to search Goldberg's home in Liberty Township, his office in Canfield, a warehouse and other locations.
The next day, authorities searched Goldberg's home and seized four Rolex watches, two Piaget watches, three oriental rugs and a computer. Larger items like automobiles, appliances and artwork, were tagged and inventoried, but left at the house. Goldberg's family has been prohibited from selling them or transferring their ownership.
The appeals court ruled that the probate court had jurisdiction to seize the property, but did so in a manner that violated the family's constitutional rights. The probate court then appealed to the Supreme Court.
Who gets them? The confiscated items were to be liquidated and the proceeds used to help reimburse Goldberg's victims, but the appellate court ruling ordered that they be returned to Goldberg's family.
Goldberg filed for bankruptcy protection in January, and the seized items are now in possession of the court-appointed trustee overseeing the case, said Atty. Bruce R. Schrader II of Akron, who represents trustee Ann Silagy of Canton.
All of the items tabbed in the search -- including those that were confiscated and those that were tagged -- are being evaluated to determine who owns them, Schrader said. Whatever belongs to Goldberg will be retained by Silagy for liquidation, with proceeds to be put toward the bankruptcy.
Goldberg's wife and children will be allowed to retain any items that are shown to be their personal property, Schrader said.