MOUNT VERNON, Ohio - A municipal court judge here has dismissed criminal charges against visiting Judge Stephen Yarbrough of Lucas County.
“If a Judge were to be charged with a criminal offense each time he or she issued an order or granted a judgment, our judicial system would instantly collapse,” wrote Judge Paul Spurgeon.
Two Knox County residents, Rubin Szerlip and Kelly Strayer, filed the charges on July 9 against Judge Yarbrough, who is presiding over litigation stemming from Mr. Szerlip's divorce.
In an affidavit, Ms. Strayer said on April 27, Judge Yarbrough called her into his chambers and offered not to jail Mr. Szerlip if he agreed to settle the divorce case.
Judge Spurgeon sided with the city law director, , who said Judge Yarbrough is protected by “judicial immunity.”
“ ... Judge Yarbrough is immune from prosecution for those actions Kelly M. Strayer has alleged [even if true] in the affidavit she filed ... ” Judge Spurgeon wrote.