Lawyer Faces Suspension for Disparaging Judges and Justices in Court Document
Cleveland Metropolitan Bar Association v. John A. Morton, Case No. 2020-1520
The Board of Professional Conduct recommends a seasoned Cleveland-area attorney receive a fully stayed one-year suspension for alleging in court documents that the decisions by Ohio Supreme Court justices and Cuyahoga County appellate judges in two of his cases were guided by politics and not the law.
J. Alex Morton, who was admitted to practice law in 1975, argues his comments about the jurists are constitutionally protected free speech and are accurate. He maintains the board has no right to sanction him.
The Cleveland Metropolitan Bar Association, which brought the complaint against Morton, objects to the proposed fully stayed suspension. The bar association maintains Morton's ethical rule violations damage public confidence in the judicial system and that he should be barred from practicing law for at least six months.