Legal Ethics

Ex-judge convicted of lying to FBI should be suspended, disciplinary panel says

A former Ohio judge who was convicted and served time for lying to the FBI should be suspended indefinitely from the practice of law but not disbarred, a disciplinary board has recommended to the state supreme court.

Bridget McCafferty, 47, who served on the Cuyahoga County common pleas court from 1998 to 2010, was a political lackey who could be heard on FBI recordings gushing over two longtime county politicians who are now serving hefty sentences in corruption cases, the Board of Commissioners on Grievances and Discipline said in a scathing 20-page report (PDF). It states that the two politicians had ex parte contact with McCafferty and attempted to influence her in two cases, reports the Plain Dealer.

The board also noted a stinging rebuke of McCafferty by the Cincinnati-based 6th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals when it denied her appeal of her conviction.

“For a sitting judge to engage in this conduct shakes the very core of our system of justice, a system that’s built upon the integrity and honesty of the individuals who are given the privilege to serve,” the appellate court wrote, adding: “For a sitting judge to knowingly lie to FBI agents after she had unethically steered negotiations in a case to benefit her associates is a shock to our system and the rule of law.”

McCafferty declined to comment when contacted by the newspaper. The state supreme court is expected to make a final determination in her attorney disciplinary case before the end of the year.

A WEWS article published when she began serving her 14-month federal sentence in 2011 provides further details about her criminal case. She was released last year, after completing her term.

Related coverage: “2nd Judge Gets Time in Cuyahoga, Ohio, Corruption Case; 3 Lawyers Previously Sent to Club Fed”

WKYC: “Court denies appeal of former Judge Steven Terry”

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