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Published: Thursday, 3/23/2006

Ohio top court suspends 79-year-old Erie lawyer

COLUMBUS - The Ohio Supreme Court announced yesterday that the license of a longtime Erie County lawyer has been suspended for the next year for "professional misconduct."

The court voted 5-2 to suspend the license of Richard R. Huber of Milan, who has practiced law for more than 50 years.

A release from the court said Mr. Huber accepted advance fees from clients in two child-custody cases and one foreclosure matter, then failed to take required legal steps on their behalf. It said Mr. Huber also failed to refund the fees.

To have his license reinstated next year, Mr. Huber will have to pay restitution of $1,880 to the clients he has not reimbursed.

Mr. Huber said yesterday he accepted the court's decision.

"I probably practiced law a little too long," he said. "I'm 79 years old, and I screwed up on a couple cases."

The decision went against the board's recommendation that Mr. Huber's license be suspended indefinitely. The court's majority wrote, "Respondent's misconduct in this case must be balanced ... against his long career in the legal profession."

Chief Justice Thomas Moyer and Justice Maureen O'Connor dissented, saying the court's practice in such cases has been to issue indefinite suspensions.

A court spokesman said Mr. Huber's license had been suspended in April, 2005, for failing to meet continuing legal education requirements and again in December for not registering as an attorney with the state.



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