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Judge calls law profs’ 17-year divorce-related legal battle ‘frightening’

Posted Aug 12, 2013 12:59 PM CDT
By Martha Neil

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Law professors Christo Lassiter of the University of Cincinnati, and Sharlene Boltz of Northern Kentucky University were married for 10 years after wedding in 1986.

Their divorce-related legal battles have lasted for 17 years, sparking criticism from multiple judges involved in the Hamilton County, Ohio, case, the Cincinnati Enquirer reports.

“Both parties ought to be admonished by the State Bar of Ohio. Both are law professors and officers of the court. Each has a duty to behave in a proper manner, particularly with regard to legal filings, and each has more than pushed the envelope with regard to abusing the court system. It is frightening to this court that either is teaching current law students the boundaries and ethics of our profession. Both should be thoroughly embarrassed and ashamed of their behavior,” wrote Common Pleas Court Judge Leslie Ghiz, who presided over a July hearing.

The case has had some 1,400 docket entries—about 1,000 more than average—and involved rule violations by both sides, judges have said, as the couple battled for custody of their children and money each has claimed to be owed by the other.

“This court has not seen many domestic relations cases more contentious and acrimonious ... than this case. The parties, who are both law professors and who ought to know better, engaged in thoroughly inappropriate behavior that was detrimental to the resolution of their case and to the welfare of their children for which both claimed to be primarily concerned,” wrote the1st District Court of Appeals in a 2002 opinion. The court is based in Cincinnati.

Lassiter said he has just been trying to be a good father, involved in the lives of his children, and blames his ex-wife for prolonging the legal battle, the newspaper reports. She declined to comment when contacted by the Enquirer.

Meanwhile, the case continues. Lassiter, who previously had his law school salary garnisheed due to unpaid child support, is now trying to get money from his ex that he says she owes him. A hearing is scheduled Sept. 6.

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