Judge told to stop vaping on the bench; motion claimed he was 'constantly slurping' on device

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A common pleas judge in Cleveland has given up vaping from the bench after a request by the court’s administrative judge.

Judge Joseph D. Russo of Cuyahoga County was asked to stop smoking electronic cigarettes earlier this year after a juror complained, Cleveland.com reports in a story noted by Above the Law. The court’s policy manual also will be updated to make clear that the required smoke-free environment at the Justice Center includes a ban on vaping.

Cleveland.com spoke with five lawyers who said they had seen Russo smoke an e-cigarette during courtroom proceedings.

The issue was raised in a motion for a new trial filed in January by a man convicted of rape, according to the article. The motion claimed that Russo was “constantly slurping and sucking” on the vaping device during the man’s bench trial, creating a distraction and altering the judge’s brain chemistry.

Russo denied the motion.

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