Belinky hearing Wednesday, Rusu assumes bench


Mark Belinky, the former Mahoning County Probate Court judge who pleaded guilty to tampering with records, could be sentenced to prison for up to 18 months at a court hearing Wednesday.

But when Visiting Judge Ronald Suster, a retired Cuyahoga County Common Pleas Court judge, hands down Belinky’s sentence, it likely will be in line with the recommendation by the Ohio Attorney General’s Office, prosecuting the case, of community-control supervision and no prison time. The sentencing is at 1:30 p.m.

As part of an agreement with the AG’s office, Belinky, a Democrat, resigned March 14 as judge, withdrew April 8 from the Democratic primary for the seat, pleaded guilty May 8 to the third-degree felony, and surrendered his law license July 3.

The deal also calls for Belinky, of Boardman, who turned 62 today, to continue to cooperate with the government’s investigation into corruption in the Mahoning Valley.

Today also was the day Robert Rusu of Canfield was sworn in as Belinky’s replacement as probate court judge.

Rusu, selected by Republican Gov. John Kasich, is running as an independent candidate in the Nov. 4 general election for the seat against Democrat Susan Maruca of Poland.

After Belinky resigned, Chief Justice Maureen O’Connor of the Ohio Supreme Court appointed R.R. Denny Clunk, a retired Stark County probate judge, to serve as interim Mahoning County probate judge.

Read more about the case and the appointment in Wednesday's Vindicator or on

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