MOUNT VERNON — The disciplinary case against local attorney Scott Pullins inches closer to closure, but a final ruling may not come until February.
Last month, a three-judge panel heard the case, which charges Pullins with seven counts of professional misconduct.
“The case was heard by a panel that is advising the Supreme Court,” said Michael E. Murman, special prosecutor to Disciplinary Counsel, who wrote the complaint against Pullins.
The next step, Murman said, is for the panel to construct a confidential report with a recommendation to the full disciplinary board. The board will meet in December, but Murman questions whether that will be enough time for the panel to review all of the information.
“I know the panel chair likes to have the hearing transcript in hand,” Murman said. “It’s more likely to have a recommendation in February.”
The full board, which consists of 28 members, meets every other month.
“Board meetings are highly confidential and have all the sanctity of deliberation as a jury,” he said.
The board, according to Murman, can suggest to dismiss all seven counts against Pullins, or to find that “clear and convincing evidence” was found showing one or more violations.
The written recommendation will then be sent to the Ohio Supreme Court, which makes the final conclusion. After both sides are provided with the ruling, each would then have the opportunity to file written objections to the ruling, Murman said.
Murman said the Supreme Court has around 100 misconduct complaints certified each year. In 2008, 67 disciplinary decisions were handed down. Through Oct. 2, 69 decisions have been made this year.
According to the Ohio Constitution, the Supreme Court is charged with the regulation of the practice of law.
“It is for the protection of the public,” Murman said. “Other professions, like doctors, nurses or pharmacists, have systems in place to see to those who deviate from acceptable standards. Attorneys and judges are no different.”