Hearing date set for probate judge


By Scott Halasz - shalasz@aimmediamidwest.com



XENIA — A hearing date has been set for the Greene County Common Pleas Court judge accused of misconduct in his court room.

Probate Court Judge Thomas O’Diam will have a formal hearing in front of a three-member panel of the Board of Professional Conduct at 10 a.m. June 29 via video conference. The hearing is in response to a complaint made against O’Diam filed March 29.

The complaint with the Ohio Board of Professional Conduct of the Supreme Court, alleges that the judge violated rule 2.8(B) of the code, which states that “A judge shall be patient, dignified, and courteous to litigants, jurors, witnesses, lawyers, court staff, court officials, and others with whom the judge deals in an official capacity, and shall require similar conduct of lawyers, court staff, court officials, and others subject to the judge’s direction and control.”

It alleges that O’Diam spoke harshly to someone in his courtroom who previously told Greene County commissioners that the judge should “should recuse himself from cases in which ‘family members’ represent parties.”

In an April 19 response filed by attorney Joe Borchelt, O’Diam admitted to most of the allegations while saying other parts of the certified complaint speak for themselves.

The alleged violation occurred during a June 6, 2019 status conference regarding the estate of Carolee Buccalo, which was being handled by Brittany O’Diam, Judge O’Diam’s daughter. Buccalo’s son, Grant David Buccalo, was called to the stand and questioned at length about the comments he made to the commissioners in 2019 regarding family members representing parties in Judge O’Diam’s court.

According to county records, Brittany O’Diam has represented clients in her father’s courtroom more than 40 times since O’Diam took over the bench. The judge did not recuse himself — until Buccalo’s case — but Brittany O’Diam filed a waiver of disqualification, which is a form parties sign acknowledging the judge’s potential conflict of interest and agreeing to move forward with the case.

Buccalo did sign one of those forms when Brittany O’Diam took on the case, but he said he was an “emotional mess” when he signed the wavier. He also said his comments to the county were not meant to be taken personally by Judge O’Diam.

The complaint indicates that Buccalo did not specifically mention his mother’s estate case or express concern about his own involvement with Judge O’Diam, other than to say that he had never met him and wouldn’t recognize him. Buccalo then said he planned to file a grievance with the disciplinary counsel.

In his response, O’Diam requested that the boardreview the matter and “issue a decision that is right and just.”

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By Scott Halasz

shalasz@aimmediamidwest.com

Contact Scott Halasz at 937-502-4507.

Contact Scott Halasz at 937-502-4507.