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Four Visiting Judges Hear Oral Arguments

Image made up of four smaller images (two rows of two images), each of a judge wearing a black judicial robe

Clockwise from top left: Judge Lisa L. Sadler, Judge Beth A. Myers, Judge Laurel Beatty Blunt, Judge W. Scott Gwin

Image made up of four smaller images (two rows of two images), each of a judge wearing a black judicial robe

Clockwise from top left: Judge Lisa L. Sadler, Judge Beth A. Myers, Judge Laurel Beatty Blunt, Judge W. Scott Gwin

Three Supreme Court of Ohio oral arguments today included visiting judges. Two of the judges sat in one case.

According to the Ohio Constitution, in the event of a justice’s recusal, the chief justice can select any of the 69 current Ohio appellate court judges to sit temporarily on the Supreme Court.

First District Court of Appeals Judge Beth A. Myers, Fifth District Judge W. Scott Gwin, and Tenth District Judges Laurel Beatty Blunt and Lisa L. Sadler all took part in Tuesday’s cases.

“I enjoy working with judges across the state. It’s particularly fun when I get to serve the Supreme Court, but doing it with a fellow visiting judge is an added bonus,” said Judge Myers.

Judges Myers and Sadler sat in place of Justices Michael P. Donnelly and Melody J. Stewart, who recused themselves in Disciplinary Counsel v. Judge Carr. The parties debated the severity of a suspension that should be imposed on a Cleveland municipal judge who committed an unprecedented number of judicial conduct infractions during a two-year span.

“The debate among the justices and judges is always good,” said Judge Sadler. “We all love the law and the dynamics of it, so it’s real joy to hear differing perspectives in these cases.”

Judge Sadler last heard a Supreme Court case in February 2020. She has been a judge on the Tenth District since 2003. Prior to that, she also served on the Franklin County common pleas and municipal courts.

Since 2017, Judge Myers has been a part of the First District, hearing cases originating in Hamilton County. Before that, she spent more than 13 years on the Hamilton County common pleas bench and 21 years in private practice. Her previous appearance at the Supreme Court was in May 2018.

Like Judge Myers, it was Judge Beatty Blunt’s second time sitting for the Court. Today was the first occasion at the Thomas J. Moyer Ohio Judicial Center, though, because her August 2020 appearance was virtual due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

“It was very exciting. Particularly with this fabulous building, you can appreciate how our society is based in the law,” said Judge Beatty Blunt.

She has served on the Tenth District bench since 2019, following 10 years on the Franklin County Common Pleas Court. She also has worked as counsel for the Ohio Secretary of State’s Office, assisting in managing litigation on complex legal, policy, and constitutional issues.

Judge Beatty Blunt replaced Justice Patrick F. Fischer, who recused himself from State v. Bunch. In that case, the Court considered a claim of ineffective counsel from a man convicted of rape because his attorney didn’t consult with or call an expert witness to question the credibility of a victim’s testimony.

Judge Gwin sat in place of Justice Donnelly, who also recused himself in State v. Barnes. A member of the Fifth District representing 15 Central Ohio counties for 33 years, Judge Gwin last sat with the Court in March 2021.

“No matter how many times I sit up on that bench, I think about the system we have for resolving disputes, and to sit on the highest court in the state is an honor that I don’t take lightly,” said Judge Gwin.

Before the appellate bench, Judge Gwin’s resume includes positions as Canton’s law director and as an assistant attorney general representing the Ohio Department of Transportation.

In Barnes, a man claiming self-defense in a fatal shooting is challenging his conviction after the trial court rejected his request to withdraw his guilty plea before sentencing.