YOUNGSTOWN Panel's recommendation: Suspend Cox's law license
Supreme Court justices will have the final word on Cox's disciplinary fate.
By BOB JACKSON
VINDICATOR COURTHOUSE REPORTER
YOUNGSTOWN -- A state panel that oversees conduct of lawyers and judges has recommended a two-year suspension of former appellate Judge Edward A. Cox's law license.
If Cox follows certain conditions, including that he seek counseling for gambling addiction, his license suspension will be shortened to one year, according to the Ohio Supreme Court's board of commissioners on grievances and discipline.
It's the same recommendation made in December by the Supreme Court disciplinary counsel.
The high court justices have the final word on attorney and judicial discipline, though disciplinary counsel Jonathan Coughlan was not sure when such a ruling will be made.
Admissions: Cox is a former judge with the 7th District Court of Appeals, located in Youngstown. He has admitted three counts of misconduct related to borrowing money from lawyers who had cases pending before him. A fourth count was dismissed.
Cox, an appellate judge from 1982-2000, has admitted a longtime gambling addiction, and a court-appointed psychological evaluation showed he fit the profile of a pathological gambler before October 2000. Most of the money he borrowed was used for gambling, court records show.
The board recommended that Cox get counseling for his gambling.
The disciplinary panel found no evidence that Cox did any favors, or quid pro quo, from the bench in exchange for the loans, which often went unpaid.
Borrowing: Authorities say Cox borrowed thousands of dollars from lawyers, including Richard Goldberg, a medical malpractice lawyer who is serving a federal prison sentence and is in the process of being disbarred for defrauding clients.
Cox is also accused of taking $400 from another lawyer for a client referral, which is illegal. Cox has disputed that and said the money was for unrelated matters.