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Disciplinary Counsel v. DeMasi

Supreme Court of Ohio

January 3, 2018

Disciplinary Counsel
v.
DeMasi.

          Submitted September 13, 2017

         On Certified Report by the Board of Professional Conduct of the Supreme Court, No. 2016-016.

          Scott J. Drexel, Disciplinary Counsel, and Donald M. Scheetz, Assistant Disciplinary Counsel, for relator.

          Michelle Lynn DeMasi, pro se.

          PER CURIAM.

         {¶ 1} Respondent, Michelle Lynn DeMasi, whose last known address was in Akron, Ohio, Attorney Registration No. 0078628, was admitted to the practice of law in Ohio by motion in 2005.

         {¶ 2} On April 29, 2016, relator, disciplinary counsel, filed a complaint charging DeMasi with multiple violations of the Rules of Professional Conduct arising from her conduct as the defendant in a debt-collection proceeding and her representation of a single client. Because DeMasi did not answer the complaint or respond to a show-cause order, we imposed an interim default suspension under Gov.Bar R. V(14)(B)(1) on August 4, 2016. 147 Ohio St.3d 1211, 2016-Ohio-5220, 63 N.E.3d 133. After DeMasi responded to an order to show cause why her interim default suspension should not be converted to an indefinite suspension, we remanded the matter to the Board of Professional Conduct for consideration of mitigating evidence only. 148 Ohio St.3d 1438, 2017-Ohio-1345, 72 N.E.3d 653.

         {¶ 3} DeMasi is deemed to have committed the charged ethical violations by virtue of her default and failure to timely move this court for leave to answer the charges against her. See Gov.Bar R. V(14)(A) and (C). After a hearing at which DeMasi testified regarding certain factors that she believed to be mitigating, a panel of the board recommended that she be indefinitely suspended from the practice of law. The panel also recommended that DeMasi receive no credit for the time served under her interim default suspension and that she be required to satisfy certain conditions before being reinstated to the practice of law.

         {¶ 4} The board adopted the panel's findings and recommended sanction. We adopt the board's report in its entirety and indefinitely suspend DeMasi from the practice of law with no credit for time served under her interim default suspension.

         Misconduct

         Count One

         {¶ 5} The first count of the complaint arises from DeMasi's refusal to participate in a judgment-debtor examination after the Barberton Municipal Court granted summary judgment to one of her creditors. She was held in contempt of court and jailed when she disobeyed the judge's orders to answer the questions posed to her. The court agreed to release DeMasi the next day based on her agreement to participate in the debtor's exam. But following her release, she filed an affidavit of disqualification against the judge (which was later denied) and once again failed to appear for the debtor's exam.

         {¶ 6} When a bailiff served DeMasi with an order to show cause why she should not be held in contempt of court, she exited her home, stood in the path of the bailiffs vehicle, and refused to move. Local police responded and placed DeMasi in the back of a patrol car. From there, she called 9-1-1 to report that she was being kidnapped. As a result of her conduct, she was charged with obstruction of official business. She also was served with a second notice of her upcoming contempt hearing.

         {¶ 7} DeMasi appeared to be arraigned on her criminal charge on April 23, 2015, and her arraignment was rescheduled. On that same date, she unsuccessfully sought a writ of prohibition to prevent the judge in the underlying civil case from taking further action and was served with a third notice of the contempt hearing, which was scheduled for the following day. Falsely claiming ...


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