Thousands Of Cases Under Review After Judge Accused Of "Severe Alcoholism"

By Lindsey Weedston 06/21/19

More than 2,700 cases may be affected by this turn of events. 

judge accused of "severe alcoholism" banging his gavel

A guardianship petition filed by a retired judge’s daughter and mother alleges that said judge was addicted to alcohol and worked while under the influence on multiple occasions, throwing as many as 2,700 court cases into question.

According to the American Bar Association Journal, Ohio’s public defender is planning to review many of the cases overseen by former Judge William Marshall of Scioto County, particularly those that resulted in prison time or court supervision.

Marshall was on the bench in Ohio for 15 years and was first hospitalized for his addiction disorder in 2013. He retired in 2018 just before he was given a six-month suspension by the Ohio Supreme Court's Board of Professional Conduct after they found he had improperly inserted himself into a speeding ticket case involving his own daughter. 

Earlier this year, both Marshall’s daughter and mother filed for guardianship over the former judge, claiming that advanced alcoholism had left him unable to care for himself. Ohio Public Defender Tim Young will be among those reviewing his cases to determine if any decisions should be reversed due to Marshall possibly being under the influence during the trial.

“If you're a severe alcoholic, you're going to work under the influence... and that means you are ruling on people's cases,” said Young according to The Cincinnati Enquirer. "It also makes you open to manipulation to those who know and perhaps your cases aren't being handled fairly because of the fear of being outed. A fair justice system relies on so many things, but nothing more important than a fair arbitrator—the judge.”

Marshall was the subject of another investigation by The Enquirer which lasted for over a year, the results of which were posted in early 2019. In the report, Marshall was linked to an alleged Ohio sex-trafficking ring that is currently being investigated by the Ohio Bureau of Criminal Investigation. Marshall denied all allegations, but three women named him as the judge who was associated with the lawyer responsible for the operation.

Reviewing so many cases is going to be a huge undertaking for the public defender's office, which will be doing so with the help of a Case Western University professor and his students. However, Scioto County Prosecutor Shane Tieman believes that few of Marshall’s cases will be found to be problematic.

"But they are going to be sorely disappointed with this expense of resources," Tieman said. "I don't think there are going to be that many if any cases that have problems. Everything is written down, recorded on video and on audio."

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Lindsey Weedston is a Seattle area writer focused on mental health and addiction, politics, human rights, and various social issues. Her work has appeared in The Establishment, Ravishly, ThinkProgress, Little Things, Yes! Magazine, and others. You can find her daily writings at Twitter: