A ruling by the Ohio Supreme Court allows the Cuyahoga County Prosecutor’s Office to continue prosecuting a Cuyahoga County Common Pleas Court judge for allegedly assaulting his wife. Authorities say Mason punched his wife in the face, biting and choking her as he drove through Shaker Heights with the couple’s children in the backseat.
Judge Lance Mason of the Cuyahoga County Court of Common Pleas was charged in August of 2014 with assault, child endangerment, kidnapping and domestic violence. Mason moved to have a special prosecutor appointed, to prevent Cuyahoga County Prosecutor Tim McGinty’s office from handling the case. After a hearing, the trial judge found no evidence that the Prosecutor’s office harbored actual prejudice against Mason, and denied the Motion. Mason appealed to the 8th District Court of Appeals. McGinty objected that the appellate court lacked jurisdiction because the trial court’s order was not final and appealable. When the appellate court referred the jurisdiction question to a merit panel, McGinty requested a writ of prohibition from the Ohio Supreme Court, and asked that the Supreme Court declare that the appellate court lacked jurisdiction.
On March 17, the Supreme Court agreed and granted the writ. Justice Pfeifer dissented, along with Justices French and O’Neill.
The case against Mason will now go forward with McGinty’s office handling the prosecution.
The Court’s opinion is here.