A July trial has been set for a former Delaware Municipal Court Judge accused of tampering with evidence and theft.
Michael C. Hoague, 62, of 17 Carriage Drive, Delaware, entered a not guilty plea Monday morning to two counts of tampering with evidence, third-degree felonies and two counts of theft, fifth-degree felonies.
According to the court records, the charges center around Hoague allegedly filing paperwork while acting as a public defender in two cases in 2013 asking for compensation after having been paid by the family of the defendant, thus “double dipping.”
The tampering charges deal with Hoague filing the paperwork and the theft charges are for the money Hoague allegedly received from the defendant’s family.
At the arraignment, Hoague was represented by defense attorney Robert Owens. The State of Ohio was represented by Brad Tammaro, senior assistant attorney general from the Special Prosecutions Section of the Ohio Attorney General’s office.
Delaware County Common Pleas Judge David Gormley said at the arraignment that Judge James A. Brogan, a retired judge from the Second Circuit Court of Appeals, has been assigned to preside over the case. Gormley said he would handle that part of the arraignment to spare Brogan the expense of traveling from Montgomery County for such a short hearing.
Gormley accepted Hoague’s not guilty plea and said that Brogan would speak to both parties via telephone and would set a trial date based on his availability.
Gormley gave Hoague a recognizance bond and did not require him to post any money with the Clerk of Courts.
According to court documents, a trial has been scheduled for July 25, 2017. Tammaro said during the hearing that a trial would likely take up to two weeks. Additionally, a pretrial hearing has been set for May 5 at 10 a.m.
After the hearing Hoague and Owens filed a motion for a pretrial hearing to address specific legal issues that will be central to the trial.
The motion states that Timothy Hamon was charged with three counts of gross sexual imposition in 2011 in case number 11 CR I 11 0609 and was later re-indicted and charged with rape in case number 11 CR I 12 0657.
In the motion, Hoague says he was privately brought on to consult with another attorney in the first case. The motion states that when Hamon was re-indicted Hoague was appointed as co-counsel in the second case, despite Hoague’s objections.
At the conclusion of that case Hoague was appointed to handle Hamon’s appeals case. When the appeals case concluding in 2013, Hoague submitted a form with the Ohio Public Defender’s Office in order to be paid for the cases. The form Hoague filed stated that he had not received any compensation in connection with providing representation.
In his motion, Hoague argues that he did not commit the offense because he had been privately consulting on the first case and not acting as a public defender. Hoague contends that he did not violate the law because he was a public defender in the second case and the appeals case, but not in the initial case.
A hearing on Hoague and Owens’ motion has not yet been scheduled.
Gormley said that if convicted, Hoague could face up to 36 months in prison for the tampering with evidence charges and up to a year in prison for the theft charges.
Hoague has not commented publicly on the charges.
Hoague was disciplined by the Ohio Supreme Court’s Office of Disciplinary Counsel in 2003 as a judge for “conviction of coercion, misconduct as a judge, acting in the manner that does not promote public confidence in the integrity and impartiality of the judiciary and misusing authority of judicial office to achieve the personal goal of reprimanding persons believed guilty of reckless driving.”
According to the disciplinary record, Hoague observed a vehicle driving recklessly on US 23. He wrote the owner of the vehicle a letter stating, “This is a serious matter deserving your immediate attention.”
Hoague ordered the two to appear in his courtroom where he conducted the matter in what the disciplinary record called “an arrogant inquisition.”
Hoague was a municipal court judge in Delaware from Jan. 1996-Dec. 2001. He did not seek re-election when his term expired.
According to a Delaware Police report, on Jan. 28, 2016, a felony theft complaint was reported on Carriage Drive. The report lists Hoague, a female with a Delaware address and two males with Ashley addresses.
Glenn Battishill can be reached at 740-413-0903 or on Twitter @BattishillDG.