Former prosecutor is suspended for adding charge to indictment
A former prosecutor in Ohio has had his law license suspended for a year because he added a charge to a criminal indictment and then signed the document.
According to the supreme court decision (PDF), Phillabaum reviewed a grand jury indictment in December 2010 and told a legal assistant to add a gun charge. A different prosecutor had obtained the indictment for aggravated robbery and felonious assault, and he refused to sign the altered document.
Phillabaum signed the indictment, which was later replaced with a superseding indictment after the County Prosecutor learned of Phillabaum’s conduct.
Phillabaum pleaded guilty in 2013 to a misdemeanor, dereliction of duty, for his actions in the case. He avoided a 90-day jail sentence by serving community service and successfully completing probation.
Ohio’s Board of Commissioners on Grievances and Discipline had recommended a suspension of one year, with six months stayed on the condition Phillabaum engage in no further misconduct. The Ohio Supreme Court rejected the recommendation and imposed a one-year suspension with no stay. Two dissenting justices would have adopted the recommended suspension.