Franklin County Municipal Court judge accused of misconduct
COLUMBUS, Ohio (WSYX/WTTE) -- A Franklin County Municipal Court Judge finds herself in trouble over her handling of a court case.
According to a complaint from the Board of Professional Conduct, Judge Amy Salerno is accused of misconduct involving a case from November 2016.
In that case, two suspects charged with first degree felony drug possession appeared in Salerno's courtroom. Court documents show the prosecutor requested a high bond for both suspects, but one got bail set at $75,000. The other's bail was set at $350,000. The suspect with the higher bail got a lawyer who reached out to Salerno's bailiff to get the bond reduced.
In the complaint, a transcript of text messages between the lawyer and bailiff show the bailiff forwarded the messages to the judge, who is accused of calling the clerk's office and dropping the bond from $350,000 to $85,000.
That suspect posted bail and was released.
The court document explains Judge Salerno never informed the prosecutor. The Franklin County Prosecutor's Office found out from the media.
"I've known Judge Salerno for many years and she regularly would contact us and I'm not quite sure what happened in this case other than perhaps in the rush of business hurrying through the courts docket or trying to be fair," said Franklin County Prosecutor Ron O'Brien.
An attempt to contact Salerno was unsuccessful.
O'Brien said his office should be notified.
"Any issue in a case, the court rules say that the people on both sides of the case have a lawyer, and we're the state's lawyer, and that we are supposed to be part of the transaction discussion decision or argument process."
The county prosecutor has known Salerno for years. He said high case volumes in municipal court are an issue and it may be a factor in this incident.
"Knowing her, I think she always follows the rules otherwise and I would guess it's just the volume that she was trying to deal with that day," explained O'Brien.