MAHONING COUNTY Lawyers praise Goldberg ruling
The county bar association president said lawyers must be held to a higher standard.
By MICHELE C. HLADIK
COLUMBUS -- Mahoning County is being cleansed of bad lawyers and judges, according to some members of the county's law community.
Those members were responding to the recent permanent disbarment of Richard Goldberg, who practiced in Mahoning and Trumbull counties.
Goldberg was disbarred Wednesday by the Ohio Supreme Court based on charges of mail fraud, bank fraud and attempted tax evasion. He is serving time in a federal prison in Morgantown, W.Va.
"We have gone through a significant cleansing process," said Atty. Ted Roberts, president of the Mahoning County Bar Association.
He said he doesn't believe there are a large number of unethical judges and lawyers in the community, but even one is too many.
"There are more than 600 Mahoning County lawyers conducting themselves ethically for their clients," he added.
Tim Franken, chief of the criminal division of the Mahoning County prosecutor's office, said there is still more cleansing to be done in the county, however.
"I think we have more to do," he said. "People have to elect good, honest judges."
Pleased by decision: Both Roberts and Franken expressed pleasure at the high court's decision. "I would consider that to be a just result," Roberts said. "He betrayed his profession."
Roberts said he hopes the decision serves as a warning to others who might try to practice unethically. "Lawyers have to live by a higher standard" of conduct.
He added that when a lawyer breaks the rules, he or she has to pay the price.
Franken is preparing to prosecute Goldberg on 31 local counts of fraud. The local trial is scheduled to start Sept.16.
Franken said Goldberg could receive any sentence from probation to 47 to 75 years in jail. He said he doesn't believe the latter will be the sentence, but hopes Goldberg receives more than probation.