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Judges were just doing their duty, bar association says



Published: Tue, April 5, 2005 @ 12:00 a.m.



Judges were just doing their duty, bar association says

EDITOR:

The Ohio Supreme Court Rules for the Government of the Judiciary of Ohio provides in Rule I, Section 2 that:

"Justices and Judges, not being wholly free to defend themselves, are peculiarly entitled to receive the support of lawyers against unjust criticism and clamor."

We believe that your March 24 editorial "Local judges cross the line in going to bat for convict" concerning information provided by Common Pleas Court Judge R. Scott Krichbaum, Youngstown Municipal Court Judge Robert A. Douglas Jr., and retired Common Pleas Judge Charles J. Bannon, as part of the criminal sentencing process, deserve additional information to provide a better understanding of our judicial system on some of the issues you raised.

Judges, like others, are authorized to publicly comment on the character of any individual with whom that judge is acquainted for any purpose provided that such individual does not have business before that judge. In fact, such comments are solicited by other judges to assist in the sentencing process. These comments were solicited as part of the Federal Sentencing Process for which the sentencing guidelines were recently found to be unconstitutional. As such, any comments should be particularly helpful to the sentencing court. Each judge provided information to the sentencing court, which information the sentencing court may or may not use in its sentencing decision. In no way do Judges Krichbaum, Douglas and Bannon make the sentencing decision in the instance you cite.

Oftentimes, a judge's perspective on our community allows for insightful and helpful comments made in the pursuit of justice. Please appreciate that a judge, like all of us, is required to honestly respond to a subpoena.

We defend Judges Krichbaum, Bannon and Douglas in the exercise of their duty.

CLAIR M. CARLIN, President

LARRY D. WILKES, President Elect

Mahoning County Bar Association

Mainstream media too timid in criticizing judicial branch

EDITOR:

Debate rages in the media concerning the over-reaching activism of both the executive and legislative branches of government at all levels. Comparatively little discourse concerns the judicial or third branch. Why?

Central to the issue is the necessarily inherent and independent nature of the judiciary. We must, however, be mindful that except for the U.S. Supreme Court all of the other federal courts (including the U.S. District and U.S. Circuit Courts of Appeals) derive their creation and jurisdiction from Congress.

It would be harmful to our system of jurisprudence if a few federal lower court judges so antagonize Congress that a groundswell of backlash creates a congressional atmosphere of antagonism between these two co-equal branches of government.

Major mainstream media commentators have been reluctant to criticize the judicial branch as they do the other two branches of government. The media are quick to engage the elected executives and legislators in debate but are mostly loathe to seriously question judicial decisions. If they don't, perhaps Congress shall; and if it does it will likely overreact. Such a reaction will most certainly be counter-productive and erode the integrity of both.

Atty. CARL. D. RAFOTH

Boardman

Missing front plates could be worth their weight in gold

EDITOR:

The Vindicator recently had an article in the paper about how adamant the Highway Patrol was about keeping a front license plate on all vehicles. If they are really important why doesn't someone enforce the legal requirement?

About noon on Easter Sunday I drove approximately seven miles on Western Reserve and Tippecanoe roads and counted 19 vehicles with no front plate. Seems like an easy way for the county, state or some town to make a few bucks.

WARREN FERRELL

Poland




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