Ohio Judge Reprimanded After Berating Jurors For Acquitting Criminal Defendant

Judge_Amy_Salerno_2005Judge Amy Salerno of Franklin County, Ohio has been reprimand for a serious breach of judicial ethics. Salerno lashed out at jurors after they acquitted a defendant and said that it was a “slam dunk” case. Salerno was ranked as the worst judge in the Columbus Bar Association survey in 2007, 2009, 2011, and 2013. She appears intent on continuing her ignoble distinction. We previously discussed the case.

The case itself did not seem a likely choice for such a departure from basic rules of judicial decorum. It was a simply misdemeanor assault case in 2013. Salerno called in the jurors after the not guilty verdict and told them that they blew it and disclosed that the defendant was facing charges in another criminal case.

That is an obvious violation of Judicial Conduct Rule 1.2 requiring a judge to respect and comply with the law and to act at all times in a manner that promotes public confidence in the integrity and impartiality of the  judiciary). It was also found to violate Judicial Conduct Rule 2.8(C) prohibiting a judge from commending or criticizing jurors for their verdict other than in a court order or opinion in a proceeding. These violations were found to be aggravated by what the Bar found was how Salerno’s conduct  adversely affected several jurors, who were quite upset by the judge’s criticism which “subjected the entire Ohio judicial system to widespread criticism and ridicule after her remarks received nationwide media coverage. See BCGD Proc.Reg. 10(B)(1)(h).” A juror described her demeanor as “nasty” and said that she went home and cried after the criticism.

Salerno issued a statement that noted that she accepted and even asked for the reprimand: “Everyone has said something that they later regretted. Upon reflection, I publicly acknowledged my mistake and have apologized for what was said. It was intemperate. I punished myself by requesting a public reprimand from the Supreme Court. I agreed to and accepted a public reprimand from the Supreme Court of Ohio. I have learned from this experience and it will never happen again.”

Salerno is a former former Republican member of the Ohio House of Representatives from 1995 through 2002. She received her BA from Youngstown State University in 1979 and a JD from the Moritz College of Law at Ohio State University in 1982. She left the House due to term limits and then lost the election for Franklin County clerk of courts. Ohio Governor Taft appointed her to the Franklin County Municipal Court. Despite her low standing as a judge, she was recently reelected with 60 percent of the votes. Her reelection seems to reaffirm concerns over electing judges. As we have previously discussed, low-ranking and even unbalanced judges have been reelected in campaigns that seem disconnected from the merits of judicial retention (here and here and here).

Here is the opinion: Ohio Reprimand

Source: Dispatch as first seen on ABA Journal

70 thoughts on “Ohio Judge Reprimanded After Berating Jurors For Acquitting Criminal Defendant”

  1. This judicial conduct is beyond the Pale. It is one thing to criticize or berate a witness. But the jurors are sacred and in a way co equal. This grounds for removal. She needs to get off the bench and do divorces and bankruptcies. Gay divorces only. That will give her an earful. This is the total example of a human bitch. Us female dogs oughta know.

  2. What a bunch of complete hooey. That someone feels he can comment on another commenters sleep cycle, or “other issues” with any credibility at all simply displays for all the world to see the lengths to which this person uses ‘guess work’ to demean other commenters on a public forum. This is how this person operates, he tells others that he ‘knows things’ about other people, then he goes on to fabricate stories about other people because he is angry with them for challenging him, or some other perceived slight or another. This is extremely toxic and has no place on a public forum. Even if what this person was saying were to be true, it’s doxxing. But putting forth lies, half truths, innuendo and outright guessing is beyond the pale. I would caution others to be aware of these tactics when dealing with this person.

    1. Inga – weren’t you the one who was practicing medicine without a licence the other day? You have no legs to stand on calling peopling out. BTW, is ‘doxxing’ going to be the word of the week? First time I have seen you use it.

  3. Trooper, You and I just got an attorney version of, “Nana, nana boo boo.” As you know, liberals revere the education industry and believe ALL knowledge comes from it. While you and I are quite well educated and read, we have lived interesting lives, known interesting people, and understand there are many different types of intelligence. Ironically, when I returned to school to get my teaching certification via education school credits, and some graduate history/psych courses, I was taught about the multiple intelligences, and how to accommodate them in teaching.

    Mespo is obviously having some sleep issues. He actually used to be a decent guy to talk sports w/ on occasion. He went to the dark side in the past year. I have to believe sleeping and other issues, unrelated to people w/ different world views expressed here, are the REAL problem. The darkness here just a manifestation of the real problems. We libertarians love freedom, liberals love govt.

  4. Trooper york:

    My point is not that the FBI did it ( I couldn’t care less), it’s merely that you are a know-it-all blowhard who pontificates as fact your half-baked opinions. Like your pal Nick, you come here to spew propaganda and convince others you have all the answers from your libertarian point of view. You don’t have any fact based answers and I enjoy calling you on your lies, half -truths, and overstatements. You’re intellectually dishonest and I think folks should know it.


    No self-loathing at my end. I just loath the crapola you guys makeup. Btw isn’t it time you went crying home to mamma about lack of civility?

  5. Trooper, Mespo is a self loather. It’s understandable, growing up in Dixie and being called Eyetalian. We had a long discussion about the CIA and Mob. You see, mespo believes the CIA was more saavy than the mob. He’s an Ivy Leaguer wannabe. LOL!! Poor guy, grew up eating Dixie Eyetalian. Can you imagine? He is a real head case vis a vis his roots. You know the type. Pitiful. But, he will tell you he had some Eyetalian family in Pittsburgh so he is down w/ it. Spent vacations there. He does not understand where you grew up and live. If he only knew!

    Then there’s the scotch. That’s a whole other matter.

  6. Seriously Mespo?

    You really are a conspiracy theorist. The reason I know it went down this way is because I knew the guys who made the peace after Umbertos went down. The ran the neighborhood for many years. At the price of ending the violence.

    But keep believing that it was the FBI. You don’t sound crazy at all.

  7. Like a lot of zealots Trooper, you claim to know for certain what you cannot possibly know at all. Did you ever think of running for mullah?

    1. @Everybody

      Whatever happened to judicial misconduct and the best way to deal with and prevent it?

      You know, as in “Ohio Judge Reprimanded After Berating Jurors For Acquitting Criminal Defendant.”

      Just askin’.

    2. Election vs. Appointment

      Elect or Appoint? A Central Debate

      One of the hottest debates in judicial politics today is whether judges should be chosen through competitive election or appointments. Each side has pros and cons.

      Competitive Elections are, adherents say, the most democratic way to make judges accountable to the public. But competitive elections have many problems, and critics, who cite their heavy reliance on special interest money. 22 states use competitive elections to fill state supreme court seats, at least some of the time. Learn more about Competitive Elections.

      Appointment/Retention Systems, also known as “merit selection,” rely on bipartisan nominating commissions to put slates of candidates to the governor, who picks from that list. Voters then periodically vote on whether to retain these judges. While this greatly reduces special interest money, critics call these systems undemocratic. 24 states use bipartisan commissions to help choose supreme court justices. Learn more about Appointment Systems.

      Many view public financing as a way to combat special interest money in judicial elections. Programs implemented have since come under attack. Learn more about public financing.

      1. Ken Rogers – I have already stated how the merit system can be jerked around in Arizona. My opinion on merit selection is in long ago.

  8. Mespo would much rather blame the government then the mooks who actually did it.

    It was a set up. Just the same way Gambino set up Albert in the barbershop. The little man always used cut outs to keep his hands clean. Of course the low life rats want to spread some dirt on the feebs.

    Hey maybe it was the Ferguson police department. Or the Saudis.


    1. mespo – you interpreted it wrong. making too many waves with the FBI means making too much trouble. Think the show is called Mafia’s Greatest Hits. 😉

  9. Trooper York:

    You ought to work for the FBI cause they don’t know. Neither did Columbo’s family who blamed the FBI. The cops cleared Gallo after interviewing him saying he has no ties to Johnson, the shooter, and that the shooter had no ties to organized crime. Some capos in the Columbo organization disputed that because Johnson was black and Gallo had connections with black organized crime in Harlem, but there was no proof he ordered the failed hit. Of course, they didn’t need proof for Columbos gang to shoot a Gallo in the restaurant. You’re like Nick, you think you know for certain what nobody else knows but hey, you’re the self-proclaimed expert and who could doubt you.

    Here’s an excerpt from the book American Mafia about the crime:

    “Then there was the FBI. Colombo and his inner circle had sponsored Demonstrations outside the FBI’s New York office, attempting to portray themselves as victims of the FBI’s racism. In taking on the FBI, the Godfather should have known better. Just a few years earlier, the FBI, on the orders of Hoover himself and for reasons never explained, had framed a member of the Colombo Family, “Sonny” Franzese, for a string of bank robberies he had no part in, the result being a 50-year prison sentence. This case alone proved that Hoover, usually content to ignore the American Mafia, could utilize the full resources of the Bureau, including the commissions of crimes, in order to bring down someone who for whatever reason had displeased him.

    Thus, on June 29, 1971, as Godfather Colombo arrived at the Second annual Columbus Day event for his Civil Rights League, the Mob Boss knew that he had earned many enemies – on both sides of the law! An omen of trouble was the fact that the crowd that day was considerably smaller than the year previous. The low attendance was due to Godfather Gambino, who had sent his henchmen out to warn people not to show up, as had Crazy Joe Gallo, fresh out of prison. Still, Colombo was now a Media celebrity, and dozens of reporters were allowed access to the Godfather.

    Among them was one Jerome A. Johnson, a young African-American from New Jersey. Adorned with his Press credentials, there was nothing out of the ordinary as Johnson followed Godfather Colombo around with a film camera, assisted by a young African-American woman. The woman called out a greeting to the Godfather, at which point Johnson, with a camera in one hand and a gun in the other, opened fire on Colombo at close rang. A mob of men then jumped upon Johnson, one of them pumping three bullets into the assassin’s back. That person then ran away, as did Johnson’s female accomplice. Despite the presence of dozens of cops, both Johnson’s accomplice and the man who killed Johnson managed to get away.

    Jerome Johnson died instantly, but Godfather Colombo survived. The Rally had already become a Media Circus, and that Media mob relocated at Roosevelt Hospital, to which Colombo was taken. The shooting of a Mafia Godfather in broad daylight in the heart of Manhattan would become an obsession with the Media – and their following – for many months. Caught in the middle was the New York City Police Department, under enormous public pressure to solve this crime. From the outset, the NYPD branded the shooting a “hit” orchestrated by the Mob. Carlo Gambino, Joey Gallo, and Carmine Persico, a rising star in the Colombo Family, were all taken in for questioning by the cops, as was a Mob-connected pornographer, Michael Umbers.

    Press conferences were also called by members of Colombo’s inner circle, encamped at the hospital where he lay in a vegetative state. At one such press conference, the Reverend Louis Gigante, whose brother Vincent would later rise to Godfather of the Genovese Family, offered his own explanation as to who was responsible for the shooting. Father Gigante suggested to those in the Media that they investigate the possibility that the FBI was involved. “The FBI has done this before!” Gigante was quoted as saying, with Colombo’s son Anthony seconding the Reverend’s challenge. (1)

    4 decades have now passed since the Godfather was gunned down. During this time, there has been one constant claim by some close to the Godfather; their conviction that the FBI was in some way involved in Colombo’s shooting. Most reporters, including this one, just laughed when this scenario was first presented to them. Still, the claims have been persistent, and have been voiced by Mafia turncoats who worked for the FBI. Joseph Cantalupo was an Associate of the Colombo Family who became a co-operating witness for the FBI in 1972. Cantalupo’s credibility was established by his testimony in the landmark “Commission Trial” prosecuted by Rudolph Giuliani. In his autobiography BODY MIKE: THE DEADLY DOUBLE LIFE OF A MAFIA INFORMER, Cantalupo mentions the widespread belief among the Colombo Family that the FBI was involved in the shooting of Godfather Colombo. Sammy “The Bull” Gravano was another accomplished turncoat who also mentioned the same belief in his autobiography UNDERBOSS. Gravano originally was a member of the Colombo Family before becoming “Made” as a member of the Gambino Family.

    It should be noted that none of these men offered any evidence as to the alleged involvement of the FBI in the shooting of Colombo. The patience of such men, however, would be rewarded in recent years when disturbing information would become public in regards to two of Joe Colombo’s closest associates; Greg Scarpa, Sr., a prolific hitman and drug dealer, the right-hand man to Carmine Persico, who would eventually rise to become Godfather, and the Rabbi Meir Kahane, the founder of the militant Jewish Defense League, an organization that worked closely with Colombo’s own civil rights League. Both men have now been revealed to have lived a double life as FBI Informants. In Scarpa’s case, the hitman committed crimes of violence on behalf of and with agents of the FBI, Scarpa’s reward being protection from prosecution for most of his adult life. In Kahane’s case, the FBI first recruited the Jewish activist to infiltrate a non-profit organization, the John Birch Society, which contained among it’s members people who were vocally anti-Semitic. Later, while the Colombo Family provided weapons to Kahane’s JDL, the FBI, according to FBI documents, utilized the JDL as a pawn in it’s controversial – and illegal program that targeted African-American activists across America. That operation was code-named COINTELPRO.”

    1. mespo – let’s start with the premise that almost any book on the FBI is a hit job. Everyone has an agenda and much of it is made up. On the other hand, the FBI is all smoke and mirrors. Other agencies of the government made more arrests and got convictions than did the FBI. J. Edgar literally knew where the bodies were buried so he kept his job and Presidents kept quiet.

      I would not believe the FBI offed Columbo thru a third party. That is more a mob thing.

  10. But I do have to agree with Trooper, putting pineapple on pizza is an infamia.

  11. I could see getting emotional about a salacious case (it is still wrong, but I could see how things could get out of control) but this does not seem worth it. Plus erring on the side of acquittal is what should happpen in a criminal case.

  12. Of course this is a thread jack. In fact lets get back to the fact that the Professor is picking on Connie Francis just because she just got a little excited. You have to cut her some slack because of that Howard Johnson motel room thing.

    I think this is just part of the liberal law professors war on women.

    Not cool.

  13. Mespo here is the straight poop. Jerome Johnson did the deed at the behest of Joey Gallo. When Joey Ubatz was incarcerated he made contacts with some blacks that he offered jobs running numbers and other low level stuff to build up his faction for when he got out. After the dust up with Profaci the Red Hook gang was on it’s last legs so he needed some fresh blood. So he turned to the bloods.

    Johnson was a patsy. He got phony photographer credentials and went to the rally with a really hot black chick in hot pants. Now old Joe liked his poon tangy so when they sidled up to him he was happy to let them through. Johnson plugged him and was thrown to the floor and shot dead by Joe’s bodyguards two seconds later.

    But everyone knows that Ubatz made the hit. Old man Gambino sanctioned it because Colombo was pissing off the Commission because of all the publicity. He put out the word to the ILA that everyone had to stay home that day.

    Everybody knows that Joey put the hit out on Joe. That is why he got it at Umberto’s Clam House a year later when somebody dropped a dime to Matty the Horse because it was his new joint in Little Italy. The Colombos were so pissed that Matty agreed to it even though they didn’t like a hit going down in one of their restaurants. But since it was only Joey and Pete the Greek there at the time they thought it was best.

    So heres the thing. Everyone has their area of expertise. I know the Mafia. You know all the virtues of communism. Let’s stick to what we know.

    Your Pal
    Trooper York

  14. @JT

    I’m aware that no system of seating judges could be foolproof, but doesn’t appointing judges not also put people on the bench who demonstrate they shouldn’t be there, but are difficult to remove?

    I remember a judge in my city whose drinking problem was an open secret and who was inordinately and famously punitive. When election time came around, he was the only judge on his party’s ticket who wasn’t re-elected. He spent ten grand on a recount and still had to find other work. If he’d been appointed, he probably would have remained on the bench and continued to inflict himself on people.

    So, in view of the power they have and the damage they can do, what’s the best answer in terms of seating and unseating them, if not via elections?

  15. Trooper:

    “It is just that anti-Italian prejudice has me riled up ever since I saw Joe Colombo get gunned down at the rally back in the day.”

    Don’t know what Joe Columbo you’re talking about, but if it was the mobster shot in 1971, he wasn’t gunned down by an Italian. It was a black street hustler who shot him and Colombo lived. His would-be assassin was killed.He died in 1978. No one knows who ordered the hit but his family thinks the FBI ordered it. I going to have to apply the Spinelli a Rule to your BS too, Trooper, if you keep this up.

    1. mespo – just watched a special on Columbo and they think the mob ordered the hit. Columbo was making to many waves with the FBI and creating too much heat for the rest of them. The Five Families sanctioned the hit.

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