Craig T. Conley, Esq.
220 Market Avenue South
Canton, Ohio 44702-2180
Re: In re Candidacy of George T. Maier / Protest Filed by Cynthia Balas-Bratton
Dear Mr. Conley:
This is a response on behalf of Deametrious St John, to your request that Mr. St John abstain from voting on or otherwise participating in the hearing of the protest filed by your diem, Cynthia Balas-Bratton.
As an initial matter, the law accords a presumption of impartiality to Mr. St John in the exercise of his duties as a member of the Stark County Board of Elections in hearing the protest filed by your client. See In re Disqualification of Celebrezze, ... There is a presumption of honesty and integrity on the part of an administrative body unless there is a showing to the contrary, and the party alleging a disqualifying interest bears the burden of demonstrating that interest to a reviewing court Ohio Stale Bd of Pharmacy v. Poppe ... .
I must point out that merely because Mr. St. John joined the majority of voting members of the Stark County Democratic Centra) Committee in appointing Mr. Maier to the office of Stork County Sheriff does not constitute evidence of bias. The rule has long been that the outcome of a judicial proceeding alone may not stand as proof of bias or partiality Meadowbrook Care Cir v. Ohio DepL of Job A Family Servs ... . Similarly, the outcome of the votes of the Stark County Democratic Central Committee (in which Mr. St. John voted with the majority) in the discharge of its official duties under R.C 305 02(B) may not stand as proof of bias or partiality.
You have raised a due process argument in relation to your request that Mr. St John abstain. However, a substantial showing of personal bias is required to disqualify a hearing officer or to obtain a ruling that the bearing is unfair. Staschak v. State Med. Bd of Ohio, ... . "The term 'bias or prejudice' implies a hostile feeling or spirit of ill-will or undue friendship or favoritism toward one of the litigants or his attorney, with the forrnation of a fixed anticipatory judgment on the part of the judge, as contradistinguished from an open state of mind which will be governed by the law and the facts." tn re Disqualification of Hunter, ... .
The attached Affidavit of Deametrious St John affirmatively refutes any allegation that Mr. St. John has personal bias in this matter Mr. St. John has no hostile feeling, spirit of ill-will, undue friendship or favoritism toward one of the parties or their attorneys. He has not formed a fixed anticipatory judgment and instead is approaching the protest with an open state of mind which will be governed by the law and the facts. Mr. St. John fully intends to fulfill his duty to render a fair and impartial judgment upon the protest filed by Cynthia Balas-Bratton.
For the above reasons, and based upon the attached Affidavit, Mr. St John respectfully declines your request that he abstain from voting on or otherwise participating in the hearing of the protest. (emphasis added by SCPR)
THE OKEY LAW FIRM LPA.