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Published: Thursday, 4/28/2005

Judges likely to be asked to relinquish CCNO posts

STRYKER, Ohio - The six area judges who serve on the Corrections Commission of Northwest Ohio are likely to be asked to step down from their commission seats to comply with a state Supreme Court ethics ruling.

Toledo Municipal Judge Gene Zmuda, Common Pleas Judges Jack Zouhary of Lucas County, James Barber of Fulton County, Keith Muehlfeld of Henry County, Anthony Gretick of Williams County, and Joseph Schmenk of Defiance County are expected to be asked to sit on an advisory board to the commission, instead of the commission itself, according to a report at yesterday's commission meeting.

That would leave the commission with 12 members, all sheriffs and county commissioners except for Toledo's representatives: police Chief Michael Navarre and Mayor Jack Ford.

The Ethics Commission issued an opinion in December, 2003, stating that common pleas judges should not serve on judicial corrections boards for community-based correctional facilities and programs. Later, it further interpreted that judges should not serve on corrections boards.

The corrections center formed a committee to recommend how judges should be replaced on the board. That committee advised reducing the board seats to 12, down from 18.

The committee also recommended that a separate advisory board of judges be formed to maintain their input and recommendations on jail operations.

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