Lawyer’s removal from case upheld


A Lucas County judge was correct to remove a Toledo lawyer from a criminal case after he tried to undermine the attorney-client privilege of a co-defendant, an appeals court ruled Friday.

The 6th District Court of Appeals upheld a September, 2012, decision by Common Pleas Judge Gene Zmuda to remove Lorin Zaner from representing Jordan Byrd, one of three siblings charged in a case involving allegations of the rape of a minor.

Judge Zmuda said Mr. Zaner improperly discussed the case with co-defendant James Byrd II, who had a different attorney. The appeals court agreed that “disqualification was necessary and appropriate to protect the integrity of trial court proceedings.”

Jordan Byrd’s case was on hold pending the appeal. James Byrd II was sentenced to 90 months in prison after he was found guilty of rape, gross sexual imposition, and disseminating matter harmful to a juvenile. Larrissa James, who was convicted of gross sexual imposition, was placed on community control Jan. 30 for five years and ordered to spend six months in the state prison in Toledo.