Legal Ethics

'All the judges do it,' says jurist of comments she made to new judge on her former case

When asked to recuse herself from a criminal case in which the newly appearing defense attorney was her husband’s divorce lawyer, an Ohio judge did so.

But after the Hamilton County criminal case was reassigned, Common Pleas Judge Leslie Ghiz offered her thoughts about the case to the new judge assigned to oversee it, along with a transcript of a hearing, the Cincinnati Enquirer reports.

Judge Carl Stich, who, like Ghiz, only recently took the bench, consulted with the presiding judge and another jurist, then recused himself.

“I have received some information about this case from one of the prior judges prior to my even seeing the file,” Stich said during an April 30 court hearing. “And, as a result of that, I think it would be appropriate for me to recuse myself and also [for] this case to go to a judge who has not heard anything about it from one of the prior judges.”

Ghiz told the newspaper she did nothing wrong in speaking to Stich about the case, saying that she had simply told him why she recused herself and what the transcript showed.

“All the judges do it,” Ghiz said. “We need background on the cases, perspective. All 16 [Common Pleas Court judges] talk about cases. There’s nothing unusual about it.”

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