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MAHONING COUNTY Taking of tickets prompts censure

Published: Thu, January 31, 2002 @ 12:00 a.m.

The panel received 50 letters from judges, attorneys and members of the community supporting Judge Lisotto.
COLUMBUS -- Mahoning County Common Pleas Judge Robert G. Lisotto received a public reprimand by the Ohio Supreme Court on Wednesday for accepting professional football tickets from a local attorney who had presented cases in his court.
Judge Lisotto was charged with accepting tickets to attend up to eight Pittsburgh Steelers home games per season for several years from attorney Stuart Banks, who had brought cases before Lisotto's court a number of times.
"However, there was no evidence of favor, preference or improper action between the respondent and Banks in any case in which Banks appeared before the respondent," the court's decision read. Judge Lisotto was also reprimanded for failing to report those tickets on financial disclosure forms.
In June, Judge Lisotto's case was presented to a panel of the Board of Commissioners on Grievances and Discipline of the Supreme Court. The case was presented to the Ohio Supreme Court last fall.
Support for judge: During the mitigation phase of the investigation, the panel received 50 letters from judges, attorneys and members of the community supporting Judge Lisotto and "attesting to his good character."
According to the decision, the panel and board recommended the public reprimand because Judge Lisotto had already discovered his error, paid Banks for the tickets and amended his financial statements.
The high court voted unanimously to adopt the board's recommendations. Judge Lisotto was represented in the matter by Columbus attorney Geoffrey Stern, who was unavailable for comment.

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