Former Mahoning County Court Judge Fred H. Bailey Sr. has died
By David Skolnick
Fred H. Bailey Sr., a Mahoning County Court judge for 26 years before resigning shortly before pleading guilty to conspiracy to violate the Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act, has died.
Bailey died Sunday at St. Elizabeth Youngstown Hospital. He was 89.
Bailey was remembered by friends and colleagues as a fair judge and a good person.
“I’m saddened by the loss; he was a fine county court judge,” said J. Gerald Ingram, a defense attorney. “He contributed greatly to society. He was socially conscious. He had a small episode where he misstepped, he accepted responsibility, was punished and he got on with his life.”
Bailey was admitted to practice law in 1959 and had a private practice in downtown Youngstown. He also worked with the local Humane Society.
He was first elected to the county court bench in 1972, and re-elected several times, the last being in 1994. He served in Canfield, Austintown and Sebring courts.
“I’ve known Fred Bailey since 1975; he was a friend, he was a happy-go-lucky guy,” said Judge R. Scott Krichbaum of common pleas court. “I thought he was a good judge. He was a great member of our bar association. He was always a nice man. I greatly regretted he ended up having an issue. It was unfortunate. The good far outweighed the bad in him. I’m very sad to hear he’s passed.”
Bailey received the Ohio Supreme Court’s Superior Award for Excellence in 1986.
He unsuccessfully ran for the Democratic nomination in 1990 for an open common pleas court seat.
“He was fair to all parties in cases in front of him,” said James Gentile, a defense attorney. “Fred was as pleasant on the bench as he was running into him downtown on the street.”
Bailey resigned in May 1999. Four months later, he pleaded guilty to a felony count of conspiracy to violate the RICO Act for accepting bribes from attorneys from 1989 to 1997. He cooperated with authorities and was sentenced in November 2001 to 17 months in federal prison and then put on probation for two years.