Ex-county magistrate suspended


By Glenn Battishill

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A former Delaware County Common Pleas Court magistrate was suspended Wednesday by a Ohio Supreme Court order after failing to pay a court-ordered fee of more than $1,600.

Chief Justice Maureen O’Connor ordered that former magistrate Stephen Edwin Weithman show cause as to why he should not be found in contempt of court within 20 days. She ordered that his stay of suspension be revoked because he still has not paid $1,617.65, the costs of a disciplinary investigation into his conduct. Weithman was ordered to pay these costs before May 13.

Weithman was suspended for two years on Feb. 12 but the suspension was stayed on the condition that he commit no misconduct.

The suspension comes as the result of a report filed by the Board of Commissioners on Grievances and Discipline in April 2014.

The report says that on numerous occasions Weithman made inappropriate comments and actions.

According to the report, these actions and comments included:

• During a status conference in a case in which a wife was trying to hold her husband in contempt of court for circulating nude photos of her, Weithman imitated the wife’s voice in a mocking tone in front of her.

• When the wife was seated outside the courtroom, he walked up to her and “slowly ogled … from head to toe in a demeaning and degrading fashion.”

• During the trial, Weithman allowed the husband’s attorney to throw paperclips at Weithman’s head, while the wife’s attorney was speaking and took no steps to put an end to the disruption.

• Also during the trial, when the wife was about to take the stand for cross-examination, Weithman jokingly told the husband’s attorney that he would give him a dollar if the attorney could make the wife cry on the stand. He got a dollar bill out of his wallet and placed it on the bench.

• In a separate case regarding the custody of children in a divorce case, Weithman berated an attorney with vulgar language.

• In the same case, he told the husband’s attorney that “all attorneys from Franklin County are stupid.”

The report also said that, after the case in which he berated an attorney, he sought a psychiatrist at the recommendation of his attorney. The report adds that during the disciplinary process Weithman testified that he felt remorse and a clear understanding of the effect his misconduct had on the judicial process.

Weithman had practiced law for 31 years and served as a magistrate in Delaware County Common Pleas Court from January 2009 until his retirement in May 2014.

Glenn Battishill can be reached at 740-413-0903 or on Twitter @BattishillDG

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