Misconduct complaints against Ohio lawyers and judges were up nearly 33 percent last year, according to the 2014 annual report from the Board of Professional Conduct.
The board, formerly the Board of Commissioners on Grievances & Discipline, notes in the report to the Ohio Supreme Court that were 109 new filings, up from 82 in 2013.
"I think 2013 was a significant downturn for us; 2014 reflects a return to a more traditional or usual caseload that we've had in terms of new filings," Board Director Richard Dove said.
Dove adds three-commissioner hearing panels conducted 45 hearings throughout the year, 53 reports were certified to the Supreme Court with recommendations for sanctions, and they disposed of 84 cases. There were 73 pending active cases at the end of the year.
Other highlights from the annual report include an update to disciplinary rules and regulations, and a reduction of operating expenses by 15 percent.
"Our annual report reflects the fair, impartial and prompt manner through which the board members, the volunteer commissioners, execute their responsibilities to hear cases and write reports and make recommendations to the Supreme Court. It also reflects the activities of the board staff to increase the understanding of the rules of professional conduct and thus enhance compliance with those rules," Dove said.
The board is composed of 28 volunteer commissioners appointed by the Supreme Court, and they include judges, lawyers, and members of the public.