Monday, September 24, 2007

Judge's antics, disorder unrelated


The Enquirer

MASON – Judge George Parker’s bizarre behavior on the Mason Municipal Court bench might be caused by a personality disorder, but that disorder cannot explain his “blatant, calculated dishonesty,” a state attorney-discipline official says.

“There is not one shred of evidence connecting (Parker’s) pervasive dishonesty” to his narcissistic personality disorder, said Jonathan Coughlan, the Ohio Supreme Court’s disciplinary counsel.

Coughlan says a description of the disorder, with which Parker was diagnosed in October 2006, includes characteristics such as having inflated sense of self-importance, preoccupation with fantasties of unlimited power, and requiring excessive admiration.

“Conspicuously absent from the nine descriptors is conduct involving dishonesty, deceit, (and) misrepresentation...There is simply no correlation between (Parker’s) blatant, calculated dishonesty and his (disorder),” Coughlan said, adding that Parker “intentionally lied to try to avoid discipline.”

Parker, judge of the court that handles misdemeanors and traffic cases for Mason and Deerfield Township, couldn’t be reached for comment Monday.

Parker’s lawyer, George Jonson of Cincinnati, has argued for leniency, saying that his client’s narcissistic personality disorder is to blame for many of his antics, and that he is getting treatment.

The Ohio Supreme Court will consider what punishment, if any, to impose on Parker at a hearing set for Oct. 9 in Columbus. A decision, however, may not be issued for weeks after that hearing, officials say.

Critics have complained that the investigation into Parker’s conduct has been long and drawn-out.

The investigation began in 2004. Parker says he filed the initial complaint against himself.

This past June, the court’s Board of Commissioners on Grievances and Discipline found Parker violated dozens of conduct rules for lawyers and judges. He used tactics such as misusing the 911 emergency phone number to summon an officer to his chambers, and overstepping his judicial bounds by accompanying police when they served a warrant on a suspect. Parker also intentionally lied during disciplinary hearings in an attempt to avoid being disciplined, the board said.

The board had originally considered an indefinite suspension of Parker’s law license. But board members decided on the less-harsh recommendation of a yearlong suspension because Parker is getting treatment. However, Coughlan noted that narcissistic personality disorder doesn’t respond well to treatment.
The board recommended a yearlong suspension of Parker’s law license, with an additional six months unimposed as long as Parker continues treatment and meets other requirements.

Critics have complained that the process, which began in 2004, has taken so long. Parker’s elected term of office expires at the end of this year, but he is seeking re-election as a nonpartisan candidate. Four other candidates are challenging his bid to keep his seat in the Nov. 6 general election.

If the Supreme Court suspends Parker’s law license, that would disqualify him from serving as a judge.

Parker has been a lightning rod for controversy since he took the bench in 2002 after his election the preceding November.