The trial began Tuesday in Delaware County Common Pleas Court for a former municipal judge accused of “double dipping” while he served as a defense attorney in 2012.
The trial for Michael C. Hoague, of 17 Carriage Drive, Delaware, started with opening statements from Assistant Ohio Attorney General Brad L. Tammaro, who is prosecuting the case, and from one of Hoague’s defense attorneys, Mark R. Devan.
Hoague is charged with two counts of tampering with evidence, third-degree felonies, and two counts of theft, fifth-degree felonies.
Tammaro told the jury that in 2012 a man named Timothy Hamon was charged with gross sexual imposition and rape in Delaware County Common Pleas Court and said that Hamon’s family went to Hoague to try and retain his services to defend Hamon.
Tammaro said Hamon was already represented by public defender Thomas Waldeck and said Hoague agreed to consult on the case and assist Waldeck. For his services, the Hamons agreed to pay him $10,000 with a down payment of $4,000.
Tammaro said Hoague was later appointed as co-counsel on the case and represented Hamon through an appeals process and eventually a sentencing.
Tammaro said that at the conclusion of the case, Hoague filed paperwork with the Ohio Public Defender’s Office, asking to be paid for the work on the case without disclosing that he had already been paid by Hamon’s family and was therefore “double dipping.”
“You’re not going to see anything in [court documents] that indicates in any way shape or form that informs the court that not only has he been hired by the Hamons to represent Timothy Hamon, they’ve reached a fee agreement!” Tammaro said.
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.
During his opening statement, Devan countered assertions made by Tammaro and said that Hoague had been hired by the Hamons on a limited basis and protested being appointed as a public defender.
“The evidence will show Michael Hoague was hired on a limited basis,” Devan said. “The evidence will be that those payments were not to represent Timothy Hamon, but to assist Waldeck before Mr. Hoague was appointed. Those payments as a consultant overlap with his assigned counsel work and they were paid because [the Hamons] made an agreement with Mr. Hoague to pay him over time. The evidence will show that this was for his previous separate work prior to his assignment as co-counsel. … Two different periods of times and two different forms of work.”
Devan added that Hoague even reduced the Hamons’ bill by $1,500 because he had sympathy for their situation.
The first witness that testified Tuesday was Assistant Delaware County Prosecutor Douglas Dumolt, who testified to the proceedings in the Hamon case and when Hoague became involved in the case.
The trial is expected to last three days.
Visiting Judge James A. Brogan, a retired judge from the Second Circuit Court of Appeals, is presiding over the trial.
Hoague is also represented by Ian H. Friendman.
Hoague was a municipal court judge in Delaware from January 1996 to December 2001. He did not seek re-election when his term expired.
Contact Glenn Battishill at 740-413-0903 or on Twitter @BattishillDG.