Sanctions issued by state against Lima attorney

By J Swygart -

LIMA — Lima attorney Jerry Doute has agreed to a six-month suspension of his license to practice law after allegations of professional misconduct against him were brought to light more than a year ago.

The sanction will be set aside on the condition that Doute engage in no further misconduct as an attorney.

During an Aug. 5 meeting with an attorney representing the Office of the Disciplinary Counsel of the Board of Professional Conduct, Doute stipulated to the allegations against him and agreed to the fully-stayed sanctions on the condition that he engage in no further misconduct as an attorney.

The suspension is pending final approval by the Ohio Supreme Court.

In documents contained in the Disciplinary Counsel’s records, Doute admitted the violation of the Ohio Rules of Professional Conduct and acknowledged that grounds existed “for a sanction for these violations.”

According to public documents, Doute fabricated and back-dated a letter advising a client to appear for an arraignment date and lied to an Allen County judge when that client failed to attend that hearing.

According to the complaint, Doute told Judge Terri Kohlrieser that he had not personally spoken with the defendant but that his legal assistant had sent a letter that included a request for the client to schedule a time to meet with him. Doute allegedly said he was uncertain if the letter contained the arraignment date.

Doute reviewed the file in question and determined that his office had not sent a letter advising the defendant of the arraignment hearing. He then back-dated a letter to his client.

Doute reportedly initially denied fabricating the letter but later admitted he had done so. The disciplinary complaint alleged that Doute violated the Rules of Professional Conduct by making a false statement to the judge, by fabricating the letter and by exposing his client to a potential bench warrant.

Documents show that Doute has not been previously disciplined.

By J Swygart

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