• Scott R. Mote, Esq.

Are you concerned about a judge’s mental well-being?

One of the most frequent questions we receive at the Ohio Lawyers Assistance Program is “Will my colleague know that I am the person who called to let you know I am concerned about him?” The short answer is no. We will not disclose your involvement without your permission.


I understand that you might not want to use your name in the matter, because you might feel like you are “snitching” and you do not want to get the person in trouble. But, when you allow us to use your name to confront the person, we have better success at getting the sick person to obtain treatment. If the same colleague were having a heart attack in front of you, you would most likely call 911, and get help as soon as possible. You would not hesitate to tell the 911 operator your name. Why is it different if your colleague is slowly dying from a substance use disorder or a mental health issue? Substance use disorders and/or mental health issues are just as serious as a heart attack. Many people will only get sicker or die from these disorders if they do not seek professional help.


OLAP is not a policing agency

When you call OLAP concerned about a colleague, we do not contact the disciplinary counsel. We are not a policing agency. We do not mandate people to seek help or to take the help that we recommend. We do as much as we can to encourage the person to seek relief. When you are concerned and you allow us to let that person know that you are concerned, we will have a better way of helping him. When the unwell person knows that another colleague, especially a judge, is worried about their mental well-being, that person is more likely to accept help.


When you do not provide your name and wish to remain anonymous, we cannot move forward until we have enough information to confront the person. This usually requires compiling information from others in the office or family members who notice that a person needs professional help.


A sad story at OLAP I will never forget is when a law clerk called OLAP several times concerned about a judge’s drinking problem and lack of professionalism. The law clerk did not agree to let us use her name when we contacted the judge. They had been friends for 20+ years, and she didn’t want to lose her job. The last time the clerk called, she was concerned because the judge did not show up for a meeting. The clerk called the judge’s brother to let him know that the judge did not show up to work. The brother went to the judge’s house, and he found her dead. It was too late. Perhaps if the judge knew that her friend of 20+ years was concerned, OLAP could have intervened and helped her get the treatment she needed.

When you contact OLAP,

  • We will ask you the reasons for your concern and about other information regarding the attorney or judge.

  • We will ask you about others who might provide additional information or corroborate your observations, such as a colleague, a spouse or a friend, and ask you to contact them and ask that they contact us.

  • OLAP’s professional staff will assess the information to make a provisional determination about what may be happening.

  • OLAP will decide what help might be appropriate and how to offer it in the best way.


We require corroborating information on a new client before doing anything. This means that we need to speak with others who are also concerned about the person. If we do not obtain corroboration, we do not move forward to intervene—we open a confidential file and wait. Where we have corroboration, we often will set up and facilitate an intervention. Sometimes we provide information to the caller on how to approach the troubled person, and that results in a call from the person who needs help.


Are you a judge concerned about another judge?

If you are a judge who is concerned about another judge, the Judicial Advisory Group can help. JAG is a peer-based confidential assistance group that helps judges and magistrates with personal and professional issues. JAG works with OLAP to assess whether the judge/magistrate truly does need professional help, and what kind of assistance might be appropriate.


JAG is not a substitute for discipline

OLAP/JAG helps judges and magistrates with issues that may have caused or could cause disciplinary issues. Any assistance provided is entirely independent of possible disciplinary proceedings.

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  • A referral to OLAP/JAG does not discharge the duty of a judge, magistrate or an attorney to report a disciplinary violation.

  • If a referrer describes actions that may amount to misconduct, OLAP/JAG may remind the referrer of the duty to report and provide contact information for attorneys who can provide legal advice in the area.OLAP/JAG will not contact discipline.

  • If OLAP/JAG has information concerning a judge or magistrate who is being helped that indicates the person may have engaged in misconduct, OLAP/JAG will encourage the judge/magistrate to contact an attorney and get advice about self-reporting.

​If you are a fellow judge, magistrate, attorney, family member or someone else who works with a judge or magistrate, you can contact either OLAP or a JAG member directly. If you contact us,

  • We will ask you the reasons for your concern and about other information regarding the judge or magistrate.

  • We will ask you about others who might provide additional information or corroborate your observations, such as a colleague, a spouse or a friend, and maybe ask you to contact them and ask them to contact us.

  • OLAP’s professional staff will assess the information to make a provisional determination about what may be happening.

  • OLAP and JAG together will decide what help might be appropriate and how to offer it in the best way.

The Judicial Advisory Group ensures that a referral does not reflect a desire to discredit a judge or magistrate based on judicial decisions or other official acts.

JAG is confidential

  • OLAP/JAG is covered by immunity and confidentiality provisions in the Ohio Revised Code (R.C.2305.18) as well as Judicial Cond. R. 2.14.

  • If JAG members learn about possible misconduct in their JAG capacities, they may be exempt from the duty to report it. Judicial Cond. R. 2.15

  • Anything that happens through OLAP/JAG will remain in strict confidence and will not be accessible to either the judicial disciplinary process or public records requests.

  • No information about interactions between OLAP/JAG and a judge will be released to anyone in any form unless the person in question signs a waiver.

We only help judges and magistrates who want help. If they decline help, that is the end of the matter. OLAP and JAG have no enforcement authority and no reporting requirements.

Ohio’s six judicial associations nominate members to the Judicial Advisory Group. The Ohio Judicial Conference appoints members and provides administrative support for the group.


JAG members represent all jurisdictions and areas of Ohio. Contact any member with a concern:

  • Judge Jack R. Puffenberger, Chair, Lucas Co. Probate

  • Judge (Retired) Debra L. Boros, Vice Chair, Lorain Co. Domestic Relations

  • Judge Susan Baker Ross, Summit Co, Common Pleas

  • Judge David B. Bender, Fayette Co. Probate/Juvenile

  • Judge David Bennett, Guernsey Co. Probate/Juvenile

  • Judge Beth Cappelli, Fairborn Municipal

  • Judge Patricia A. Delaney, Fifth District Court of Appeals

  • Judge Kevin Dunn, Medina Co. Probate/Juvenile

  • Judge Randall Fuller, Delaware Co. Domestic Relations

  • Judge Paula Giulitto, Portage Co. Domestic Relations

  • Judge Barbara P. Gorman, Retired, Montgomery Co. Common Pleas

  • Judge Howard H. Harcha, III, Scioto Co. Common Pleas

  • Judge Kimberly Kellogg-Martin, Logan Co. Family

  • Judge William A. Klatt, Tenth District Court of Appeals

  • Judge Denise Moody, Clark Co. Municipal

  • Judge Beth A. Myers, First District Court of Appeals

  • Judge Cynthia Westcott Rice, Eleventh District Court of Appeals

  • Magistrate C. William Rickrich, Licking Co. Common Pleas

  • Judge Robert Rusu, Mahoning Co. Common Pleas

  • Judge Julie R. Selmon, Monroe Co. Common Pleas

  • Judge Matt C. Staley, Allen Co. Domestic Relations

  • Judge Jason Yoss, Monroe Co. Court

In addition to being a caring colleague and friend, legal professionals also have a responsibility and duty to protect the public and to maintain the integrity of the profession. If you notice that an attorney or judge might be experiencing age-related cognitive decline, depression, anxiety or other issues that are affecting them as a human being, let alone their ability to practice competently, it is time to help. Not only are you helping them personally, but you are protecting the public from a person who is not doing his sworn oath of helping people.


For more information on OLAP or JAG, call (800) 348-4343 or go to www.ohiolap.org or www.oh



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