Decided: May 22, 2014

Attorney:  Scott Thomas Hillis

Misconduct:  Conduct adversely reflecting on fitness to practice law

Citation: Disciplinary Counsel v. Hillis, Slip Opinion No. 2014-Ohio-2113

Discipline:  Six-month stayed suspension

Scott Thomas Hillis, elected part-time law director for Zanesville, was suspended for six months (stayed on conditions) for pleading to misdemeanor offenses of solicitation and criminal trespass following the discovery of Hillis with a known prostitute in his parked car on private property.

In a consent-to-discipline agreement, Hillis stipulated to the facts and agreed that his conduct violated Prof.Cond.R. 8.4(h): prohibiting a lawyer from engaging in conduct that adversely reflects on the fitness to practice law.

The Court found Hillis’ mitigating factors included the imposition of other penalties (30-day suspended jail sentence, payment of $400 in fines; 90-day driver’s license suspension; 30 hours community service); no prior disciplinary record; and a cooperative attitude toward the proceedings.

In issuing the six month suspension, the Court compared the case to Richland Cty. Bar Assn. v. Brightbill, 56 Ohio St.3d 95, 564 N.E.2d 471 (1990) where an assistant prosecuting attorney convicted of impersonating a police officer and soliciting sexual activity for hire received a public reprimand.  Citing Richland, the Court confirmed that “a greater sanction is warranted in this case due to Hillis’ position as an elected public official.”

Hillis’ suspension was stayed on the condition that he commit no further misconduct.

This is one of those cases that does not need a reminder to avoid the sanctioned conduct.