Submitted October 18, 2017
Certified Report by the Board of Professional Conduct of the
Supreme Court, No. 2016-037.
Desiree Blankenship and Eugene P. Whetzel; and Kelly E.
Heile, Butler County Prosecuting Attorney; and Scanlon Group
Co., L.P.A., and Maura S. Scanlon, for relator.
& Nieding, L.L.C., Richard C. Alkire and Dean Nieding,
1} Respondent, Lance Timothy Mason, of Cleveland,
Ohio, Attorney Registration No. 0067346, was admitted to the
practice of law in Ohio on November 19, 1996. From 2008 to
2015, Mason served as a judge on the Cuyahoga County Court of
2} In a complaint filed on August 24, 2016, relator,
Ohio State Bar Association, alleged that Mason pled guilty to
one count of attempted felonious assault, a third-degree
felony, and one count of domestic violence, a first-degree
misdemeanor. A hearing was held on March 1, 2017, before a
panel of the Board of Professional Conduct. Based on the
parties' stipulations and evidence presented at the
hearing, the panel found by clear and convincing evidence
that Mason committed the charged violations. After weighing
the applicable aggravating and mitigating factors, the panel
recommended that Mason be disbarred for his misconduct. The
board adopted the panel's findings of fact, conclusions
of law, and recommended sanction.
3} We agree with the board that Mason committed the
violations alleged in the complaint. However, we disagree
with the board that disbarment is the appropriate sanction
for Mason. Instead, we impose an indefinite suspension with
no credit for time served on the interim felony suspension
and with added conditions for reinstatement.
4} When the misconduct in this case occurred, Mason
was a sitting judge on the Cuyahoga County Court of Common
Pleas, General Division. During all relevant times, he was
subject to the Code of Judicial Conduct as well as the Rules
of Professional Conduct.
5} In March 2014, Mason and his wife, Aisha Fraser
Mason ("Fraser"), separated, with Mason continuing
to live in what was the marital home and Fraser residing in
an apartment. During their separation, Mason and Fraser
shared equally in the custody and parenting of their two
6} On August 2, 2014, Mason, Fraser, and the
children attended a funeral service for Mason's aunt.
Mason and Fraser agreed that after the service, Mason would
drop Fraser off at her apartment and Mason would spend the
afternoon with the children.
7} During the ride to Fraser's apartment, the
couple engaged in a conversation about their relationship. As
the discussion progressed, Mason became upset and began
assaulting Fraser, all the while continuing to drive. Mason
struck Fraser repeatedly in the head, hit Fraser's head
against the armrest, the dashboard, and the window of the
passenger door, and bit Fraser on her face. Fraser attempted
to escape the moving car, but Mason grabbed her hair. When
the car stopped at a red light, Fraser was able to open the
door, but fell to the ground as she tried to flee. With the
two children still in the car, Mason placed the vehicle in
park, got out, and began to strike Fraser as she lay on the
8} Mason then returned to his vehicle and drove
away, leaving Fraser behind. Mason and Fraser's two
children (ages six and four at the time) were seated in the
back seat and witnessed the events. The older child, who has
special needs and possesses limited verbal abilities, ...