Attorney Suspended for Road Rage
Attorney John Okuley lost it. Not in court, but on the road.
He said he got out of his car to confront a bicyclist who made an obscene gesture at him. A bystander started recording the scene, and that's when the lawyer lost it.
In the fracas that followed, Okuley destroyed the bystander's cell phone. A disciplinary panel didn't believe his claim that he was trying to preserve evidence.
The Ohio Supreme Court suspended Okuley for one year, with six months stayed. The court concluded he intentionally caused an accident and smashed the onlooker's cellphone.
In his discipline hearing, Okuley said Eric Hansen started it when he bypassed cars and smacked Okuley's vehicle as he passed. His story: words, scuffle, broken cell phone.
Hansen and John Bahling, who was recording the incident, told a different story: jerk slams on brakes, smashes cellphone.
In either case, one thing was sure: bicyclist down, calls police.
Cell Phone Down
Okuley entered a no contest plea to a misdemeanor for shattering the cellphone, plus $950 in restitution. He also settled a civil suit with the bicyclist for $5,000.
After the dust settled, it was another case of road rage. But the attorney could have won the disciplinary case -- possibly -- if he hadn't said that he grabbed the cellphone to preserve evidence.
He would have won -- for sure -- if he had stayed in his car. Unless, he said something stupid like that restaurant lawyer on tirade.
Of course, the cellphone evidence was preserved in that case.