Wednesday, January 14, 2015


On August 18, 2014 (In re: ... Finan) the 5th District Court of Appeals found that Judge Dixie Park (a Republican from Alliance) had violated Alliance resident Barbara Lockhart's "Due Process of Law" rights under the United States of America Constitution in jailing her for some ten (10) days in September/October, 2013.

Sometime in the early fall of 2014 it appears that the University of Mount Union arranged with Judge Park to be the University's Constitution Day speaker at this Stark County (Alliance) institution of higher learning.

The University officials selecting her also made a big deal out of the fact that Park was the first woman ever to speak at the event.

While Mount Union does a terrific job with its Division III football program, its officialdom seems to have a way to go in selecting deserving female Constitution Day speakers.

The SCPR can think of a number of Stark County female attorneys/judges more qualified to speak on constitutional law questions than Park.

One would hope that the person or committee  selecting her as Constitution Day speaker had not read In re: ... Finan and the travesty of a harrowing jailing experienced by as foisted upon Citizen Lockhart by Judge Park.

One might get philosophical about Park's grievous failure in the Finan case  and muse that "nobody is perfect" and though Park's not understanding "due process of law" had traumatic consequences for Lockhart; "such is life."

A little rain falls on all our lives, no?

Nonetheless the SCPR thought that Park's error on Finan was so grievous and threatening to the legal well-being of day-in, day-out Stark Countians  who might have the misfortune of appearing before her and incurring arbitrary "getting on her wrong side" that The Report launched a series designed to persuade Judge Park to resign.

Links to those blogs:

September 22, 2014,

September 23, 2014,

September 25, 2014, and

September 29, 2014

(Note:  Originally, the SCPR intended on doing a two part series; however, inasmuch as information kept pouring in, The Report (tongue- in-cheek fashion) started with the third blog of the series labeling "Part 3 of a Two Part Series."

Today's blog is simply labeled "Volume 5:  Continuing Series" inasmuch as the SCPR thinks that perhaps somewhat like the Washington Post's treatment of the Nixon administration Watergate story there may be a seemingly unending life to what the SCPR now labels as being "Parkgate."

Hopefully, this series will prompt the resignation of Judge Park as the Post's series on Nixon did with his resignation.

Especially in light of Judge Park having been bounced around once again by the Ohio 5th District Court of Appeals.

If you are Dixie Park, how does she explain a second time (In re: ... Flohr, December 31, 2014) less than a year later of being reversed because of her being determined to have violated the U.S. (as State of Ohio) Due Process of Law right of a citizen of Stark County.

In Flohr,  Judges Sheila Farmer, William B. Hoffman and Patricia Delaney found:
  • that Park in holding a hearing in which one Jude Flohr was present:
    • but NOT ALLOWED by Park to question the Judge Park appointed guardian ad litem who had made certain recommendations conditioning Jude Flohr's right to associate with his Probate Court ward father (namely, Ivan Flohr),
  • had executed an unconstitutional "denial of due process of law" 
Accordingly, the 5th District reversed Judge Park's adoption of the guardian ad litem's recommendations unless and until Park corrects (perhaps Justin's attorney will ask for Park's "disqualification on a rehearing" ?) her illegal action.
    Let's take a look at some of the language that opinion writer Judge William B. Hoffman wrote: (reconfigured for ease of reading purposes)
    • Appellant [Jude Flohr] did not receive a copy of the report.  
    • At the hearing, “[n]o oaths were administered and no sworn testimony was taken.  
    • Witnesses were not called to testify.  
    • There was no opportunity to question or examine persons regarding statements or allegations.  
    • No one requested to question or cross examine other persons present.” 
    • The trial court permitted counsel for Appellee [guardian of Ivan, Ivan's daughter Faith; a sister to Jude] to comment upon the number of phone calls placed by Appellant and Mary James [a sister to Faith and Jude] to the Ward.  
    • Counsel for Appellee provided a copy of telephone records to the trial court and counsel for Mary James. 
    • Appellant did not receive a copy of these records.
    Following the hearing, 
    • the trial court suspended any and all contact between Appellant and with the Ward until certain conditions were met, 
      • i.e., Appellant was to complete a psychological evaluation and the evaluator approved the commencement of visitation.  
        • Such ruling was based upon the GAL’s [guardian ad litem] recommendations.
    We find Appellant was not provided notice the scope of the April 22, 2014 hearing would include restricting his right to associate with his father
    • Appellee’s motion sought compliance with her decisions by the Ward’s children.  
    • The motion did not seek to eliminate Appellant’s contact with the Ward or request he undergo a psychological evaluation.  
    • Further, Appellant did not receive a copy of the GAL report; therefore, was not prepared to respond to the allegations and recommendations contained in it. 
    • Appellant also was unaware his telephone contact with the Ward was being questioned.  
    • Appellant was not provided an opportunity to explain was characterized as an “inordinate” number of calls. 
    Prior to placing restrictions on Appellant’s right to see or contact the Ward, we find
    • the trial court was required to afford him his due process rights.  
    • We find the proceedings below failed to do so.  
    • Appellant is entitled to an evidentiary hearing on these issues should Appellee decide to pursue them upon remand.  
    It should be shocking and unacceptable to Stark Countians that elected judicial official Dixilene Park would so flagrantly deny everyday Stark Countian Jude Flohr his basic rights of "notice and opportunity to be heard" BEFORE before being subjected to Judge Park's order.

    And, doesn't one have to wonder how many other denials Park may have propagated (not appealed or given "the benefit of a doubt" by the 5th District) over her ten years plus on the bench?

    Anybody who cares anything about the quality of justice being administered in Stark County ought to review each and every SCPR blog written on Park and her conduct as judge beginning with September, 22, 2014 blog (see LINKs above).

    So far only The Stark County Political Report have given Park's failures as a judge as articulated by the 5th District the attention they deserve.

    It is quite indicting of Stark County's only countywide print medium, which has a reporter assigned to specifically cover Stark County courts, that it has given only minimal coverage (Finn) or no coverage (Flohr) to the to Park's lapses.

    On the political front, the Stark County Democratic Party and the Stark County Republican Party have each failed to note Park's grave judicial deficiencies and provide Stark Countians with electoral alternatives.

    And the silence from the Stark County Bar Association (SCBA) is deafening.  Of course, it could be that the SCBA is acting according to ethics rules that prohibit publicly revealing action taken in filing ethics complaints.

    And where are the those Stark County jurists and attorneys who privately say that Park should be resign as a judge or be banished by the Ohio Supreme Court but who utter nary a peep for the well-being of an unsuspecting general public who may have the misfortune to appear before Park and risk incurring her ire.

    Stark County does have two stand up attorneys in this regard.  One being the well known and regarded Jeff Jakmides and the other courageous attorney and civic activist Craig T. Conley.

    Conley was the subject of an ethics complaint by a cowardly "anonymous" person (believed by some to have been inspired by the judge himself), when he accused Stark County Court judge Frank Forchione of grandstanding when he illegally - according to Conley - diverted $5,000 of taxpayer fine money to a fund designed to assist victims of the Sandy Hook shooting back in December, 2013.

    As a consequence of Conley filing legal action against (for client Marcelli) Forchione, which it appears that he thought was a correct interpretation of Ohio law, he obtained the return of the $5,000 from fund officials which was then deposited with the Stark County treasury.

    Once Forchione changed direction, the Marcelli lawsuit was dismissed.

    Conley was exonerated of any ethics violation by Ohio's Disciplinary Counsel office.

    Jakmides is to be commended for pressing the Finan matter and even going so far as to suggest to deciding judges Hoffman, Wise and Gwin that they should consider referring Judge Park's unconstitutional action resulting in jail time for his client to Disciplinary Counsel.

    Again, it could be that some of the silent ones are acting but are not permitted by ethics rules to publicize their initiatives.

    But the SCPR thinks that most of them are content to stand idly by and allow an unsuspecting Stark County public walk in to Probate Court unaware that they may be subjecting themselves to a denial of due process of law.

    Again, the question the SCPR poses is this:  Who has been affected by Judge Park's grave legal errors?

    Certainly not the upper crust of Stark County society.

    It has been everydays like Barbara Lockhart and Jude Flohr!

    Isn't it interesting that the bullies of public life are prone to single out those with limited resources to pounce on?

    Remember, folks.

    There "but, for the grace of God," go you and I.

    Judges are very powerful people and if left unchecked coupled with not having proper judicial temperament can wreck a person's life.

    As the SCPR has written, failures (two documented such cases) like Park's should prompt a resignation.

    Being the arrogant person that a number of Stark Countians who are in a position to know how she functions as a judge, think her to be; Park, like other "in your face" Stark County politicians and government officials - who, by the way, only the SCPR is willing to write about - obviously thinks she can get away with "not being up to the task" of lawfully processing critical constitutional law questions as clearly indicated by Finan and Flohr.

    Moreover, there are allegations she treats staff disrespectfully and there are allegations that she meets out disparate treatment to attorneys appearing before her.

    Carl Monday, an investigative reporter with WOIO, CBS's affiliate in Cleveland, has confirmed with the SCPR that he is working on a Judge Park story.

    But that has been some time ago.

    The Flohr case has been brought to his attention and it will be interesting to see whether or not a second denial of due process will get him to moving on investigating Judge Park.

    The SCPR has reason to believe that at least one ethics complaint (perhaps several) has been filed against Judge Park.

    But as the Massillon Municipal Court Eddie Elum case and the Judge Angel Stokes matter out of Cuyahoga County shows the SCPR, the Ohio Supreme Court itself appears loathe to deal effectively and efficiently with one of their kind.

    The SCPR believes Elum, though disciplined, got a "mere 'slap on the wrist'" and the SCPR thinks given what The Report thinks is an overbearing way about himself will, in due course, likely be "in hot water" once again down the road.

    The high court has no problem at all disciplining malfeasant/misbehaving attorneys and doing so rather expediously.

    One Stark County attorney, from personal experience, tells the SCPR that  Disciplinary Counsel and the Supreme Court move fast on attorney ethical complaints.

    But grievously "errant" judges?"

    That seems to be "a horse of a different color," that attorney says.

    The Stokes case is particularly telling on the Supremes in terms of acting quickly.

    Since October, 2013 there has been a clamor among Clevelanders, which group includes "going public" judges (how rare that is) and attorneys dealing with her,  for Disciplinary Counsel and the Supreme Court to remove her from the bench.

    And she has "finally" been dealt with.

    And for now, even that is temporary.

    And who knows, It could be that she will avoid permanent disqualification as a judge by Ohio's august body.

    In any event, the final decision likely will not come until this summer (2015).

    It will have taken in the neighborhood of two years for the Supreme Court to deal with allegations going back many years; most of which appear to be of the same genre.

    All of which means that even if disciplinary complaint(s) have been filed against Park as reportedly they have been; a determination is not likely to come anytime soon.

    Moreover, it could be that the indicated filing of the Park complaint(s) will never see "the light of day."

    Judge Stephen Belden formerly of the Canton Municipal Court did the "honorable thing."

    He resigned (November 30, 2014) when word got out that he was perhaps being investigated by Disciplinary Counsel on allegations that he was "in effect" putting folks appearing before him in jail for not paying their debts.

    De jure imprisonment for debt has been outlawed a long, long time in the USA.

    The SCPR has since September been calling for Park to resign after the Finan case.

    All the more so now with the December 31, 2014 Flohr case which is a second instance of being reversed on having denied an ordinary Stark Countian "due process of law!"

    In Cleveland, to its credit the Plain Dealer editorial board has taken strong position on the Stokes matter and provided the reading public with chapter and verse on Supreme Court proceedings against her.

    In Stark County, only the Stark County Political Report has the gumption to take the position that Judge Park needs to resign.

    In light of the gravity of Judge Park's unconstitutional actions, at least according to the 5th District Court of Appeals; one would think that she would issue a press release or otherwise response explaining her side of Finan and Flohr.

    But, to date, there is nothing but silence from Judge Park as far as the SCPR can determine.

    She could follow the lead of Stark County attorney Loren E. Souers, Jr. (once a Canton Municipal Court judge) as he exercised his right (as promulgated by the Ohio Supreme Court) in response to a disciplinary complaint brought against him in his role as a judge (February 13, 1991) by Ohio Disciplinary Counsel for comments he made to local media about his differences with the very same court (the 5th District Court of Appeals) that Judge Park has twice that reversed by but on altogether different grounds.

    Souers was not found to have impinged on anybody's constitutional rights.

    The point of the SCPR being that Judge Park has the latitude by virtue of Disciplinary Counsel v. Judge Loren E Souers, Jr,  to differ in public with the 5th District and thereby explain to the Stark County public her actions.

    When a higher court says constitutional rights have been violated by one who presents herself as being versed well enough (i.e. the Mount Union Constitutional Law Day presentation) on U.S. and, of course, derivatively, Ohio constitutional law; the Stark County public, the SCPR thinks, is entitled:

    • to hear her side of things, (if she thinks the court was wrong), or, if not:
      • apologize, and
        • resign

    The Report would be delighted to provide the Stark County Political Report's well known "on camera" forum as a medium for Park to avail herself of in the way of a response.

    Or, she could invite WOIO's Carl Monday into her office and take on his style of interrogation.

    But who thinks either is going to happen?

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