Judges

The Supreme Court of Ohio and The Family Mafia Doctrine of Nepotism, Ochlocracy and Corruption

This latest bench slap is more of a punch against the citizens of America, who deserve independent oversight of the crooked judiciary.

Greene County judge sanctioned by Ohio Supreme Court

APR 28, 2022 | REPUBLISHED BY LIT: APR 28, 2022

A Greene County Probate Court judge has been sanctioned by the state Supreme Court for berating a man who publicly questioned whether the judge should recuse himself in cases in which his daughter represents parties.

Judge Thomas O’Diam of Xenia received a six-month stayed suspension related to a series of events in mid-2019 in which he and his daughter spoke harshly to a man in his courtroom.

The Supreme Court of Ohio voted 5–2 to suspend O’Diam. The suspension is stayed on the condition that he commit no further misconduct and complete six hours of judicial education focused on judicial demeanor, civility, and professionalism.

In a per curiam opinion, the Ohio Supreme Court concluded that Judge O’Diam violated the judicial code that “a judge shall be patient, dignified and courteous to litigants, jurors, witnesses, lawyers … and others with whom the judge deals with in an official capacity,” and requires that lawyers in their court also conduct themselves the same way.

O’Diam’s daughter, Brittany was handling the estate case of Grant David Buccalo’s mother. Brittany O’Diam has represented clients in her father’s court on 45 occasions over the past seven years without Thomas O’Diam recusing himself. In all of those cases, Brittany O’Diam has filed a waiver of disqualification, a form which all parties sign acknowledging the judge’s potential conflict of interest and agreeing to proceed.

Buccalo then attended a Greene County Commission meeting in 2019 and told commissioners he thought O’Diam “should recuse himself from cases in which ‘family members’ represent parties.”

Buccalo told commissioners: “Justice depends on the appearance as well as the reality of fairness in all things. Otherwise, it erodes public confidence in the legal system.” He went on to tell county commissioners people need to feel that they “got a fair shake” when they leave the courtroom, and that it “wasn’t rigged.” Buccalo did not specifically mention his mother’s estate case or express concern about his own involvement with O’Diam. He also did not inform the commissioners that he had signed a waiver of disqualification.

After learning about those statements to the commissioners, O’Diam set a status conference for Buccalo’s estate case. At this status conference, O’Diam played the recording of Buccalo’s comments at the commission meeting and “interrogated” Buccalo for almost an hour, court documents say. Thomas O’Diam then let Brittany O’Diam question Buccalo without restriction.

Thomas O’Diam told Buccalo he took the comments to county commissioners personally and accused Buccalo of proceeding to “trash” him, according to court documents.

At one point, Buccalo asked for water, which he was denied. His experience at the status conference “had a profound effect on his mental health and his relationship with his family,” court documents state.

The Ohio Board of Professional Conduct recommended that O’Diam be suspended for six months and be immediately suspended from his judicial office without pay.

“This was an isolated incident, in an otherwise unblemished legal career spanning more than 36 years, that happened over two and a half years ago,” O’Diam said in a statement Thursday. “I handled a status conference poorly. I did not treat Mr. Buccalo with the patience, dignity, and courtesy he deserved, and for that I am truly sorry. I acknowledged my mistake and apologized for it. It never happened before and has never happened since. I am glad this matter is behind me and I look forward to focusing on the important business of our court, as I have done for the past eight and a half years.”

Brittany O’Diam also is the subject of a misconduct complaint from the Ohio Supreme Court’s Office of Disciplinary Counsel for the same incident. A hearing in that case is scheduled for May 2.

Justices Sharon Kennedy, Patrick Fischer, Patrick DeWine, Michael Donnelly, and Melody Stewart joined the opinion. Chief Justice Maureen O’Connor and Justice Jennifer Brunner concurred in part with the Court’s opinion but stated they would impose the board’s recommended full suspension without pay.

EDUCATION

Brittany graduated from Beavercreek High School in 2004 (representing the 5th generation of her family to graduate from BHS).  She received her Bachelor of Science in Journalism, cum laude, from Ohio University in 2007. Brittany earned her law degree in 2010, graduating cum laude from the University of Akron School of Law.

PRACTICE AREAS

Brittany is certified as a specialist in Estate Planning, Trust & Probate Law by the Ohio State Bar Association, and she is dually certified as a specialist in Elder Law by the OSBA and the National Elder Law Foundation. Brittany joined the firm in 2010, after working for the firm as a law clerk since 2007 (and in other various roles since she was 15).  Her practice now focuses on estate planning and administration, Medicaid and nursing home planning, asset protection, special needs planning and elder law.

PROFESSIONAL AFFILIATIONS

Brittany joined the Ohio Bar in November 2010 and she joined the Florida Bar in April 2011.  Brittany is a member of WealthCounsel, a national organization for estate planning attorneys, as well as ElderCounsel. Brittany is the Past-President of the Ohio Chapter of the National Academy of Elder Law Attorneys, and the current Vice-Chair of the Elder & Special Needs Law Section of the Ohio State Bar Association.

COMMUNITY ACTIVITIES

Brittany serves as volunteer legal counsel for the Greene County Community Foundation and she regularly volunteers her time to speak at public and service organization presentations to educate other professionals and the community on estate and elder  planning topics.  Brittany is the Chair of the Board of Trustees for The Disability Foundation and she serves on the Greene County Business Advisory Council. Brittany is also active in Be Hope Church in Beavercreek, where she serves in various roles and on the board of the Be Hope Immigration Center.

PERSONAL BACKGROUND

Brittany is proud to live in her hometown of Beavercreek, Ohio, with her husband, Adam Horseman, their beautiful daughter, Camden, and their sweet son, Jacob.

The Supreme Court of Ohio and The Family Mafia Doctrine of Nepotism, Ochlocracy and Corruption
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