Disciplinary Counsel v. Hon. Kim Richard Hoover, Case No. 2023-0188
A Stow Municipal Court judge is facing a two-year suspension for coercing people to pay court costs and fines in what disciplinary officials described as "the equivalent of a modern-day debtor's prison."
Judge Kim Hoover denies that he used unlawful means to collect fines and costs, but rather found ways to "get the attention of a small group of defendants who failed to appear in court, refused to fulfil their sentences, or otherwise thumbed their noses at the court."
Based on a complaint filed by the Office of the Disciplinary Counsel, the Board of Professional Conduct found Judge Hoover committed 64 ethics violations while handling 16 cases. The board recommends the Supreme Court of Ohio suspend Judge Hoover from the practice of law for two years, and immediately remove him from office without pay.
Judge Hoover concedes that he mistakenly didn't follow the law for collecting past fines or costs owed by two defendants and at most he should receive a one-year suspension with six months stayed, and no removal from office. Judge Hoover's objections to the board's report triggered an oral argument before the Supreme Court.