Michael Bachman, the former Hamilton County magistrate who chased a woman down and sentenced her to 10 days in jail for “causing a ruckus” outside his courtroom in 2018, was Friday suspended from practicing law for six months.
The Ohio Supreme Court found he had “demonstrated a clear lack of patience, dignity, and courtesy” and “exhibited a total disregard” for the well-being of the woman, who was pinned, handcuffed, threatened with a Taser and jailed for a single scream of frustration in the hallway. Bachman resigned from his position as magistrate shortly after the incident but retained a license to practice law.
The woman had come to the Hamilton County courthouse that morning — Sept. 4, 2018 — to file a protection order. According to the Supreme Court, she arrived at 7:45 a.m. to make her request and fill out the necessary paperwork, but missed the 8:10 deadline to be heard that day.
Frustrated, she walked down the hall to Bachman’s courtroom and spoke briefly to the clerk standing outside. Security recordings from inside the courthouse show the conversation as well as what happened next.
The woman turned away, walked back down the hall toward the exit and screamed once.
Bachman heard her inside the courtroom, stopped an ongoing hearing and pursued her into the hallway, where he ordered her to come into the room.
The woman was led into the jury box and immediately sentenced to three days in jail for contempt of court. She began to cry and resisted the deputies who came to drag her from the box.
Bachman increased the sentence to 10 days.
“Why, every time I come here to get help, you always send me to jail?” she said, according to the Supreme Court’s write-up of the incident. “You didn’t even hear what it was that I had to say and now I got to go to jail for three days.”
“Now it’s ten, ma’am,” Bachman replied.
She would be jailed for only two days before administrative and presiding Judge Kim Burke ordered her released.
Bachman resigned Sept. 10, 2018.
The Supreme Court decision handing down his six-month sentence notes that he did not appear to show remorse for his actions when testifying before them.
“Sending someone to jail is not the adult equivalent to sending a child to his or her room for a time-out," the Supreme Court's decision reads. "Yet Bachman and other judicial officers who have been sanctioned for similar conduct seem to equate the two."