Highland County Common Pleas Judge Rocky Coss has been appointed by the Supreme Court of Ohio to serve as a member of the Board of Professional Conduct for an unexpired term ending December 31, 2017.
According to a press release, the board consists of 28 commissioners, including seven active or voluntarily retired judges, seventeen lawyers from Ohio’s 12 appellate districts and four non-lawyer members who are appointed by the Ohio Supreme Court to serve three year terms. A commissioner is limited to serving a maximum of three terms.
The board is responsible for hearing all complaints of alleged misconduct filed by Ohio Disciplinary Counsel or certified grievance committees against lawyers and judges, allegations of impairments that substantially affect a lawyer’s ability to practice, law, petitions for reinstatement by lawyers or judges who have been suspended as well as issuance of advisory opinions regarding the professional rules of conduct.
Meetings of the board are held bimonthly in Columbus at the Ohio Supreme Court building. Commissioners also serve on three member panels that conduct hearings on complaints and file written reports with the full board. The board then determines the final findings of fact, conclusions as to the alleged violations of the Rules of Professional Conduct and sanctions for those lawyers and judges found in violation of those rules.
If findings of violations and recommendations for sanctions are made, the report is filed with the Ohio Supreme Court which makes the final determination in each case.
According to its 2015 Annual Report, the board had a total of 59 active cases at the end of 2015. In 2015, three-member panels conducted formal hearings in 48 cases spanning a total of 76 days. The majority of hearings are held in hearing rooms at the Ohio Supreme Court. Lawyers and judges on the board serve without compensation other than reimbursement of travel expenses. Funding of the board’s operations is entirely from the biennial registration fees paid by Ohio lawyers.
Coss has served as judge of the Highland County Common Pleas Court General and Domestic Relations Divisions since August of 2008. He has served as member of the Ohio Supreme Court’s Advisory Committee on Case Management since 2011 and has been a presenter on case management for new judges’ training conducted by the Ohio Judicial Conference.