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High court to consider Dann suspension April 3

Published: Sat, February 18, 2012 @ 12:06 a.m.

By David Skolnick



The Ohio Supreme Court will hear arguments April 3 on a recommended six-month suspension of former Attorney General Marc Dann’s law license.

A decision on cases such as these usually comes three to six months after a hearing in front of the justices, said Bret Crow, a court spokesman.

Attorneys for Dann, a Democrat formerly of Liberty, and for the court’s disciplinary counsel will each have 15 minutes to verbally argue the case and will answer questions asked by the justices, if they have any, Crow said.

The court’s 28-member board of commissioners on grievances and discipline recommended the six-month suspension Dec. 5. The justices have the final decision on Dann’s law-license suspension. They can accept, reject, decrease or increase the recommended punishment.

Dann was found guilty in May 2010 of two misdemeanor-ethics violations, making him subject to sanctions from the state Supreme Court.

A Franklin County judge found Dann guilty of filing a false financial-disclosure form and providing improper compensation to state employees from his campaign and transition accounts.

Dann resigned as attorney general in May 2008, about 16 months into a four-year term, after a critical internal-office investigation determined he ran an unprofessional operation filled with cronyism. Dann, three of his former high-level administrators and his then-wife, who divorced him in July 2010, were convicted, primarily of misdemeanor-ethics offenses.

Dann and the Ohio Supreme Court’s disciplinary counsel signed a tentative agreement Oct. 23 for a six-month stayed suspension that would have allowed Dann, who has a small law office in Cuyahoga County, to keep his practice.

The counsel recommended a 12-month stayed suspension after a Nov. 3 hearing in front of three members of the state disciplinary board after saying Dann tried to minimize what he did.

The full disciplinary board, however, called for Dann to serve a six-month suspension without a stay.

The Dec. 5 recommendation said the suspension is warranted as the board’s members “cannot help but wonder at the harm to the reputation of the legal profession and to the confidence of the public in the office of the attorney general when the chief law officer in the state has committed ethical errors and tries to explain them away.”

The Supreme Court gave a public reprimand to Dann in March 2004 for filing the wrong pleading in a divorce case regarding spousal support in Mahoning County.

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