Judge has a disciplinary hearing scheduled for June 21 before the Supreme Court of Ohio


Staff report

COLUMBUS

Judge Robert N. Rusu of Mahoning County Probate Court has a disciplinary hearing scheduled for June 21 before the Supreme Court of Ohio’s Board of Professional Conduct.

A complaint filed in January accused the judge of failing to recuse himself from at least 200 cases in which he had served as an attorney. A statement issued by Judge Rusu at the time attributed the actions to a misinterpretation of the rules that govern judicial conduct.

Since then, an amended complaint has added allegations that Judge Rusu failed to comply with the rules of professional conduct when he sold his 49 percent stake in his local law firm and that he did not give his clients a reasonable amount of time to find new representation.

The complaint does not specify which rule Judge Rusu violated when selling his law firm.

It states that the judge sent 27 clients letters informing them that he was taking the bench a week after he was sworn in, and he failed to notify the clients of their rights to hire new attorneys.

Judge Rusu’s attorneys filed a response this week that denies both allegations.

Gov. John Kasich appointed Judge Rusu in 2014 after former Probate Court Judge Mark Belinky, who was convicted of tampering with records after failing to record campaign contributions, resigned.

Voters elected Judge Rusu later in 2014.

A three-judge panel will hear the case on June 21, and a ruling will follow.

The disciplinary counsel asked that Judge Rusu “be sanctioned accordingly.”

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