Ethics Lesson: Don’t Drive Naked

Today’s Ethics Lesson is brought to us from Ohio, were an attorney was suspended from the State Bar after being arrested  for allegedly driving while nude.

In June 2019 the Butler County Bar Association charged the attorney for violating Prof.Cond.R. 8.4(h) which prohibits an attorney from engaging in conduct that adversely reflects on their fitness to practice law, after he pled guilty to charges of public indecency and reckless operation of a vehicle.  According to the Slip Opinion, the attorney had quite a history of public nudity.

When working as a city prosecutor in 2006 he was apparently recorded on a building’s security cameras walking around naked after hours.  He was charged with public indecency and the charges were later dropped, but his employment with the City was terminated.

In March 2018, the attorney was stopped by police for a headlight violation, at which point the officer observed that the attorney was naked.  No charges were filed as a result of the incident, but I’m sure the officer was sufficiently traumatized.

In October 2018, the Ohio State Highway Patrol received a report of a motorist masturbating while driving.  When the attorney’s vehicle was stopped, the officer discovered that the attorney was (not surprisingly) naked and likely intoxicated.  He was arrested at that time and charged with public indecency and operating a vehicle while under the influence of alcohol or drugs.  During the disciplinary proceedings related to these charges, the attorney noted that there had been several occasions on which he operated his vehicle while naked, but (sadly) was not detected by authorities.

Pursuant to Slip Opinion, the court imposed a stayed 2-year suspension with conditions, one of them being that the attorney refrain from further misconduct.  However, a month after the attorney began his probation, he was charged again with public indecency after he alleged exposed himself to a stranger while driving.

According to the Motion for Immediate Interim Remedial Suspension, the attorney’s “chronic nude driving, his 2018 . . . conviction, and his 7 September 2020 nude driving and public indecency charge shows a substantial threat of serious harm to the public.”  As such, the court determined that the immediate suspension of his license to practice law was required.

Needless to say, while many of us have grown accustomed to a more “casual” lifestyle due to COVID-19, please remember to wear clothes when you leave your home.  It appears that the Ohio State Bar should add a sign to its website that reads, “No Shirt, No Pants, No Bar Card.”