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High-profile defense attorney Clyde Bennett faces complaint from client

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Posted at 5:21 PM, Nov 17, 2017
and last updated 2017-11-17 17:21:00-05

COLUMBUS, Ohio -- High-profile defense attorney Clyde Bennett is at risk of having his license to practice law suspended, forcing him to defend his own career.

Bennett has represented former juvenile court judge Tracie Hunter, former restaurant owner Liz Rogers, a suspect in the Cameo Night Club shooting and Rico Mosley, who was found not guilty in the murder trial of teenager Kelsie Crow.

He was also hired for John Kelley's appellate case. In 2014, Kelley was convicted of attempted murder and felonious assault for a 2013 double shooting in Sharonville. 

It's that case that has left Bennett waiting for a decision from the Ohio Supreme Court on alleged misconduct. 

Bennett told a panel Friday that he's not familiar with appellate matters, even though he was representing Kelley in an appellate case. He called the case "the only time I've ever failed a client."

"The only time I've ever had a credible complaint is this matter," he said.

The Kelleys accused Bennett of not properly discussing what he was doing and missing a deadline to file a direct appeal for them. They believe he didn't do his job. 

Bennett admitted to the accusations before the board Friday.

"His mother was a God-fearing woman," Bennett said. "His mother, she was struggling with cancer, if I was not mistaken, and we pray about that. And she trusted me out of all the other lawyers, she trusted me and I didn't do it."

Bennett said his failure to communicate with the family was not a coverup, saying he had a different strategy. But Kelley's motion to appeal was ultimately denied. 

The panel will make a recommendation to the Board of Professional Conduct, which will then make a recommendation to the state Supreme Court, which will hand down a decision.