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OHIO Supreme Court suspends 3 parts of its judicial code



Published: Mon, January 31, 2005 @ 12:00 a.m.



COLUMBUS (AP) -- The Ohio Supreme Court has suspended three sections of its judicial code because of an appeals court judge's campaign to become a justice.

William O'Neill, an 11th Ohio District Court of Appeals judge, was defeated by Justice Terrence O'Donnell in the November election.

State Rep. James Trakas, the Cuyahoga County GOP chairman, filed a complaint against O'Neill in July with the Supreme Court disciplinary counsel's office, Ohio State Bar Association and Ohio Elections Commission.

Republicans complained that O'Neill declared he is a Democrat on his campaign literature and Web site. The complaints also criticized O'Neill for saying that court seats were for sale.

One of the sections of the code states that after the primary election, "a judicial candidate shall not identify himself or herself in advertising as a member of or affiliated with a political party."

The three parts of the Code of Judicial Conduct have been suspended indefinitely, Supreme Court spokesman Chris Davey said.

O'Neill sued to stop an investigation by the disciplinary counsel, arguing the use of his party affiliation was constitutional.

A federal judge ruled in September that O'Neill's free speech rights had been violated by some of the canons.

The federal lawsuit brought by O'Neill is pending before U.S. District Judge Ann Aldrich in Cleveland.




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