Cleveland judge convicted of bribery

Cleveland judge convicted of bribery

A former Cleveland judge was sentenced to more than five years in prison by the federal appeals court. The judge had fixed foreclosure cases with improper rulings requested by a local politician who had helped him get the judgeship.

Judge Jeffrey Sutton stated the seriousness of the matter when addressing former Cuyahoga County Common Pleas Court Judge Steven Terry’s argument on appeal that the definition of a bribe is different when public officials are concerned.

“Bribery in this setting has long been taking seriously,” Judge Sutton wrote in a unanimous panel decision. Sutton cited the historian Herodotus’ description of how bribe-taking judges in ancient Persia were flayed alive and their skin used to make chairs for their successors. “Punishment for the offense today is less severe, but the prohibition remains.”

The FBI was already investigating Terry’s benefactor, former county auditor Frank Russo, when he approached Terry to rule against the bank’s summary judgment motions in two foreclosure cases. Terry is serving a 63-month sentence. Russo testified that he had at least ten judges in his pocket, and he is now sentenced to nearly 22 years in prison.

Source: ABA Journal. “Former Judge’s Bribery Conviction Affirmed by 6th Circuit.” By Terry Carter. February 15, 2013.

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