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Ohio Supreme Court strips ex-judge Michael Hoague of law license for 2 years - News - The Columbus Dispatch


The law license of a former Delaware County judge convicted of felony theft was suspended for two years on Wednesday by the Ohio Supreme Court.

The justices voted 4-3 to suspend Michael Hoague, who now lives in Hilliard and was suspended on an interim basis following his 2017 convictions for theft and tampering with records.

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The Board of Professional Conduct recommended to the court that Hoague receive a two-year suspension, but receive credit for his interim suspension to allow him to begin practicing law again in December.

Chief Justice Maureen O’Connor and Justices Sharon Kennedy, Patrick Fischer and Melody Stewart disagreed, ruling Hoague should serve the full two-year suspension without credit.

Justices Judith French, Patrick DeWine and Michael Donnelly voted to grant Hoague credit toward his new suspension.

He was convicted by a jury of seeking and receiving $5,000 in payments from Delaware County as a public defender in 2012 to represent an accused rapist while failing to disclose he had been paid $8,000 in legal fees by the man’s family.

The court majority noted that the case was the second in which Hoague was found guilty of professional misconduct, with both “involving the abuse of the public trust.”

Hoague was sentenced to probation for five years and ordered to reimburse the stolen $5,000, which officials said was promptly repaid.

He was a Delaware Municipal Court judge from January 1996 through January 2001.

In 2000, the Ohio Supreme Court suspended Hoague from practicing law for six months after the then-judge was convicted of sending a threatening letter to a Columbus woman in a 1998 road-rage incident in which he was involved on Rt. 23 in Delaware County.

rludlow@dispatch.com

@RandyLudlow

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