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Published: Thursday, 5/2/2002

Court extends suspension of local lawyer's license

COLUMBUS - The Ohio Supreme Court yesterday imposed additional disciplinary action against a Toledo lawyer whose license to practice law in the state was suspended in 1998.

The court voted 6-1 to suspend indefinitely the license of Carole Ann Lockhart because she did not inform the court that she was convicted of shoplifting in 2000.

Justice Deborah Cook cast the dissenting vote because she believes Ms. Lockhart's conduct warrants disbarment.

In 1998, the state Supreme Court suspended Ms. Lockhart's law license for two years. However, the court said it would allow her to ask for reinstatement in one year if she paid fines and costs and underwent psychiatric counseling.

Ms. Lockhart, who also goes by the name Carole Lockhart-Kieffer, was charged in a felony theft warrant in May, 2000, for an incident at a Toledo clothing store. She pleaded no contest June 29, 2000, in Toledo Municipal Court to a misdemeanor theft charge and received a suspended 90-day jail sentence, $250 fine, and was placed on probation for one year.

Ms. Lockhart, 46, applied to the court for reinstatement in June, 2000, swearing under oath that she was morally qualified. She did not state in her application that she was charged with a felony or notify the court of her conviction on the misdemeanor theft charge.

The state Supreme Court denied Ms. Lockhart's application for re-instatement in June, 2001. A hearing was held in April, 2001, before the Board of Commissioners on Grievances and Discipline, which cited her for three violations of the code of professional conduct for lawyers.

The indefinite suspension is the harshest penalty short of disbarment. She must wait two years before she can ask for reinstatement. If the court rejects her request, she must wait two more years to reapply.

The state Supreme Court yesterday also suspended for six months the license of Ronald Henderson. However, the justices stayed the entire six-month suspension. The court's disciplinary counsel determined that the Toledo lawyer violated six codes of professional conduct for lawyers.

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