► Columbus Dispatch - 02/01/05 - Justice agrees to written reprimand for DUI arrest Print E-mail

Columbus Dispatch

 

JUSTICE AGREES TO A WRITTEN REPRIMAND FOR DUI ARREST 
13 appellate judges will make decision on disciplinary case 
By James Nash 
 
 
Ohio Supreme Court Justice Alice Robie Resnick would agree to a written reprimand for her drunken-driving conviction this year, her attorney and a judge said yesterday.
 
A special investigator has recommended the reprimand, the mildest possible punishment, but it will be up to a panel of 13 appellate judges. They could go along, impose something tougher or dismiss the grievance altogether.
 
Resnick, 66, was fined $685 after pleading no contest Jan. 31, which resolved the traffic case. But she faces discipline because her behavior violated Ohio's Code of Judicial Conduct. Resnick and special investigator Jeffrey R. McQuiston reached agreement Monday that the justice would accept a written public reprimand. "Justice Resnick believes that all justices on the Supreme Court must be above reproach," said her attorney, David Zoll, of Toledo. "When you make a mistake, you need to simply admit that mistake and not seek any special treatment."
 
Self-described judicial watchdog Dave Palmer, who filed the grievance, said the justice deserves a harsher penalty. Palmer cited news reports that Resnick refused to take a blood-alcohol test and that she invoked her status as a Supreme Court justice to the officer who ticketed her. "She tried to use her position to get a lesser punishment," Palmer said from California, where he now lives. "The first thing out of her mouth when she was pulled over was, 'I'm a Supreme Court justice.' She was obviously trying to get special treatment."
 
McQuiston's recommendation was based on the conclusion that Resnick had taken responsibility for her actions and had no previous drunken-driving convictions. Judge Mike Fain, of the 2nd District Court of Appeals in Dayton, who appointed McQuiston, will preside over the judges who will make the final decision.
 
The appeals judges will rule because the Supreme Court itself is forbidden from meting out discipline to one of its members. Fain said he expects the judges to issue their decision soon, though he did not have a date.
 
The justices could decide on a punishment as severe as removing Resnick from the Supreme Court or as mild as dismissing Palmer's grievance, Fain said. Resnick, the only Democrat on the Supreme Court, was first elected in 1989. Her current term ends in 2007. Zoll said Resnick has not decided whether to seek another term. Her drunken-driving arrest was widely publicized, although Resnick has not publicly commented on it beyond a written statement.
 
Supreme Court spokesman Chris Davey said Resnick was maintaining her public silence yesterday, deferring all comments to Zoll. In her written statement in February, Resnick said her arrest on I-75 near Bowling Green followed 22 years of sobriety. Zoll said yesterday that Resnick entered an Alcoholics Anonymous rehabilitation program. This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it  
 

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