In re Judicial Campaign Complaint against Karen Kopich Falter, Case No. 2020-0407
Karen Kopich Falter and Curt Hartman were opponents in the 2020 primary to run as the Republican candidate for a seat on the Hamilton County Common Pleas Court. Falter is appealing a public reprimand imposed by a five-judge commission for a letter she sent during the campaign. The letter claimed Hartman moved to Hamilton County in 2017 for an appointment by the governor for a vacancy on the court. The statement was incorrect.
Hartman filed a judicial campaign grievance about Falter's letter with the Ohio Board of Professional Conduct. A probable cause panel of the board found substantial, credible evidence of judicial campaign misconduct and certified a formal complaint to the board. After a hearing, the board's three-member panel recommended a public reprimand and a $1,000 fine. The Ohio Supreme Court appointed a commission of five judges to review the panel's determinations, and the commission agreed with the panel's recommendations.
Falter objected to the decision, and the Supreme Court will hear the case during oral arguments. Because of the COVID-19 pandemic, the Court will hear arguments by videoconference, which will be livestreamed.