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Davis v. State of Ohio, Cuyahoga County Common Pleas Case No. CV96-312322


February 25, 2000

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Ohio Disciplinary R. 7-107, William D. Mason, press conference, sanctions, settlement agreement, defendant's filings


Estate’s motion for sanctions against William D. Mason for violation of Disciplinary Rule 7-107, which provides in pertinent part that “A lawyer who is participating. . . in. . . a matter shall not make an extra judicial statement that a reasonable person would expect to be disseminated. . . if the lawyer knows or. . . should know. . . will. . . materially prejudice an adjudicated procedure.” The Estate alleged that Prosecutor Mason violated D.R. 7-107 in a press conference interview on February 22, 2000, which resulted in the following Plain Dealer headline: “Sheppard Sought $3.25 Million, Mason Says.” The Estate argued that Mason improperly and inaccurately revealed details of a failed settlement agreement between the parties and that this could have had a prejudicial effect on the jury, which in fact caused the court to voir dire all eleven jurists, one of which actually saw the headline.