It is a clear violation of the Ohio Revised Code and the Code of Ethics for a Judge to represent a criminal defendant in any capacity.

The Ohio Revised Code holds:

“A person that is a candidate for public office, or nominated, or has filed a petition or petitions SHALL not (A)Authorize, or employ the authority or influence of the public official’s office to secure authorization of any public contract, which the public official, his family, or any of public official’s business associates has an interest;” ORC 2921.42(A)(A).

The statute goes further to state:

“(E) Whoever violates this section is guilty of having an unlawful interest in a public contract; Violation of division (A)(1) or (2) of this section is a felony of the fourth degree.

There are also violations of the Ohio Revised Code Section 102 that are as follows:

“No present or former public official shall during service or twelve months thereafter, represent a client though decision, approval, disapproval, recommendation, the rendering of advice, investigation, or other substantial exercise of administrative discretion.” Section 102.03 (A)(1).

In summary, it is a first-degree misdemeanor when a petitioning candidate for Judgeship represents a criminal defendant and a fourth-degree felony if the Judge wins an election and then represents a client in any capacity.

On November 28, 2005, Attorney Thomas Teodosio of Akron, Ohio accepted the assignment of my criminal case in the Northern District of Ohio. (Case Number 1:05cr0303).  This acceptance occurred more than 60 days after his signed petition for Judgeship, which made the act a misdemeanor in most states.

While attending Judgeship training, he would not dismiss himself from my case.  He filed motions with the government against me and continued to advocate hard for the opposition.

My trial was held sporadically, August to October 2006; during this period of time, he continued to assist the government.  “I am sorry I cannot assist you during this matter.”  Mr. Teodosio stated repeatedly.  At the time I did not understand what he meant, but it soon became clear.

Attorney Thomas Teodosio won the election and was sworn in as a Summit County Judge for Drug Court, elected by the people, November 2006, a few days after he botched my bench trial.  (See his full Court bio at Summit County Court of Common Pleas, with dates).   He continued to assist the government to the final moment of my sentencing, and aggressively filed and worked against me during every important aspect of sentencing.  (See Doc. 256, filed January 24, 2007, two days before my sentencing on my public docket statement).

I did not lie down and wallow in pity.  I fought back, and still continue to file about this matter.  I have won two direct appeals representing myself and took this matter to the United States Supreme Court on direct appeal (Case number 12-6682) where I received two hearings before it was determined that my issue was a habeas issue.  I now have a retained attorney on 2255.

The Courts do not want to touch my issue. Mr. Teodosio could easily be a state inmate at any part of this juncture.  He is no longer a Summit County Judge, thanks to my persistence of writing everyone from the County Court supervisors, to the Ohio Board of Ethics.

If you ask yourself the question: Can a defendant receive a fair trial and advocacy from a defense attorney that has a clear conflict-of-interest?  The answer is no. He was already a sworn-in Judge, filing in my case!

What I have to say to all federal inmates is you have to keep fighting, and putting your issues on paper, because you never know when things can turn around for you, and even if the win is not your freedom at this time, small victories count.

 

About Christopher Zoukis, MBA

Christopher Zoukis, MBA, is the Managing Director of the Zoukis Consulting Group, a federal prison consultancy that assists attorneys, federal criminal defendants, and federal prisoners with prison preparation, in-prison matters, and reentry. His books include Directory of Federal Prisons (Middle Street Publishing, 2020), Federal Prison Handbook (Middle Street Publishing, 2017), Prison Education Guide (PLN Publishing, 2016), and College for Convicts: The Case for Higher Education in American Prisons (McFarland & Company, 2014).

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