The following letter went to Chief Justice O’Connor today as a result of some false accusations that have been made about me. These accusations were directly the result of my advocating for a father who had his agreed entry child support order changed by Clermont County CSEA during the emancipation of his first daughter and then changed again when his second daughter was emancipated.
I have questioned the procedure used in this case with Ohio Child Support and they could find nothing that permits it under either the Ohio Revised Code or the Administrative code. When I appeared at the administrative mistake of fact hearing and proved that there was no basis for the changes that were made to the agreed entry that mistake of fact was dismissed by Clermont County with their claim that they did not make a mistake even though their own procedural manual does not allow this action to happen.
As retaliation for calling this out, Clermont County filed a complaint with the Supreme Court Disciplinary Council claiming that I was practicing law without a license. This complaint by the council’s own rules should have never been investigated as it was submitted by a third party and involved an administrative hearing in which CCCSEA’s own letter stated allows non-attorneys to represent individuals.
Individuals throughout this state are having complaints against poor performing and unethical attorneys dismissed on a regular basis. The failure of our Supreme Court to address this issue is why so many have lost total faith in the judiciary system of Ohio. The attached letter was my response to these allegations.
The time has come for the legislature of this state to address this issue directly with the Chief Justice before more damage is done. I did everything within the rules for this state in this matter and have no fear of speaking up but this is serious enough that it desperately needs to be addressed.
Chief Justice Maureen O'Connor
Supreme Court of Ohio
65 South Front Street
Columbus, Ohio 43215-3431
Ohio Family Rights
Ray R. Lautenschlager
July 1, 2013
RE: UPL Letter of Inquiry
Grievant: Helen Elizabeth Mason
Dear Chief Justice Maureen O'Connor:
On May 21st 2013 I received a visit from a gentleman who dropped off a letter from the Supreme Court Disciplinary Council informing me that a complaint had been filed alleging that I was practicing law without a license. While this letter stated when this allegation took place, who I supposedly represented and what this matter was concerning, I received no copy of the original complaint.
In that letter it stated that I had identified myself as a non-attorney during this matter and that this was a CSEA hearing. The letter from Clermont CSEA provided to the Council shows that non-attorneys are more than welcome at these administrative hearings.
I was given until June 5th, 2013 to answer this allegation which I did in the timely manner required. (Enclosed)
In my response letter you will clearly see that I answered this allegation as best I could with the limited information given providing, at that time, the necessary information to clear my name of any wrong doing. Included in my response was what I believe to be a true and accurate account of what is really going on with these accusations and why I was targeted by Clermont County as well as where true unauthorized practice of law took place.
I did request that a copy of the original complaint be forwarded to me so that I can assist in clearing this matter completely. To date I have yet to receive a copy of that original complaint which I am fully entitled to. A second letter has been sent with a second request for a copy of the original complaint, a step that I should not have been necessary for me to take.
While you stated recently that it is your desire to see judicial races within the State of Ohio take a more prominent role during elections and I have to completely agree with that position, negative public opinion of the workings of the judiciary and the legal system surrounding family law in Ohio will not help that cause. As an advocate in this area I have had to opportunity to talk to many that have been affected by poor representation by attorneys and judges that have chosen to press their own agendas from the bench which in turn affect the lives a very large portion of the families of this state. When complaints are registered with the Disciplinary Council those complaints, even though well supported, are dusted off as merely disgruntled parents at the results of a case. This needs to be stopped immediately.
Recently I was approached by a father about his case. In that case the appointed Guardian Ad Litem grossly failed in her duties before the court and committed what I term the most serious breach of ethics possible by any member of the BAR, breach of client confidentiality. Yet when this father filed his complaint on that one sole issue the disciplinary Council dismissed the complaint claiming that he was merely unhappy with the results of her performance in the case. Fact is while there were numerous failings by the Attorney GAL, no mention of this was contained within his complaint to the Disciplinary Council, only that the attorney had broken client confidentiality by speaking with someone not associated with the case and admitting to that fact. Short of the thief of money I personally find that this breach of confidentiality to be one of the most serious ethical failings of any attorney.
Yet every time changes are introduced in the General Assembly to change the way Ohio approached custody of children we hear the same old song and dance about how these changes will break the public’s confidence in the judiciary. There is no confidence in the judiciary in regards to family law or in the attorneys that practice in this area. While Ohio law allows for comment on pending bills before that General Assembly it limits that comment to how the bill affects the administration of the Court not on the application of law. These failure to respect the separation of powers as enumerated within the Ohio Constitution and documented within the Judicial Cannons, where strong limits are placed on the ability of every judge to publically comment on the law.
If we are to instill confidence in the judiciary and the attorneys of Ohio, the first step is to assure that the Disciplinary Council does its job thoroughly and in an unbiased manner. That will take complete investigations of complaints that are submitted, not the mere “dust-off’s” that are happening now by the Disciplinary Council. That also means that false allegation such as the one made against me by a third party need to be dismissed without investigation as the rules of the Council are that no third party my file a complaint.
The actions of the Disciplinary Council and its operation intimately fall upon your lap Chief Justice. Holding your employees responsible for their actions or lack of action is your responsibility as the Chief Officer of the Courts of Ohio, a position you were elected to by the people of this state. Like other statewide elected officials, it is your responsibility to assure that your branch operates within the definitions of its duties and in a manner so that public confidence is not broken.
The second step to instilling public confidence will come when you take the step to caution every judge as to their cannons and what their proper place is within the structure of our state government.
I will be discussing these issues at length with our General Assembly over the coming months and would welcome a like discussion between the two of us.
Ray R. Lautenschlager
Ohio Family Rights
Ohio Family Rights is a national free association of like minded people that work to comprehensively change the way that states and the courts view custody between divorced and never married people. We have dedicated ourselves to correcting what has long been a major problem of socially engineering fit parents from the lives of their child every day. This goal can only be accomplished by comprehensively correcting the flaws within the “Shared Parenting laws” that are currently in place so that all fit parents and their children can benefit from equal custody. Please join us in our efforts to protect the families of this nation and the future of our children.
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