NKY attorney Ben Dusing grateful for a suspension he continues to fight

New ruling could delay return to law by 3 years
Posted at 5:04 PM, Apr 24, 2023

CINCINNATI — Northern Kentucky defense attorney Ben Dusing is facing a new three-year suspension of his law license for his conduct during a child-custody case in 2021 and 2022, according to an April 19 report from the Kentucky Bar Association.

Although he’s contesting the decision, Dusing insists he is grateful that the Kentucky Supreme Court placed him on temporary suspension 14 months ago because it gave him time to take six humanitarian trips to Ukraine.

“I very much believe in the work that we’re doing in Ukraine,” Dusing explained. “I would not probably have done it certainly to the extent that I have, had this not happened.”

Dusing spoke to the WCPO 9 I-Team Monday from Kherson, a Black Sea port city that had about 300,000 residents before the war.

“It’s very dangerous,” Dusing said. “There are a hundred shells that landed today. Some are far. Some are close. They rattle the windows. People die every day.”

Dusing said he spends his days transporting injured and elderly residents to medical facilities and transporting food and equipment to the places where it’s needed most.

“The Red Cross isn’t here. UNICEF isn’t here,” Dusing said. “These people need help. I can help them. How do we not do that?”

With all that action, Dusing said he hasn’t had a chance to closely read a report by Trial Commissioner Scott Bachert. He concluded Dusing violated five different ethical standards by filing frivolous motions in the case and threatening an attorney and court official in a November 2022 Facebook post.

“The evidence in this case is clear that Dusing’s actons were intentional as they were repetitive and over a significant period of time,” Bachert wrote. “As to whether there was any serious or potential injury, no proof was offered. However, it is not hard to imagine the toll that was taken on the litigants and on the court.”

Dusing referred questions about the report to Kent Wicker, his Louisville-based attorney.

“Respectfully, we believe that the trial commissioner misunderstood the facts and misapplied the law,” Wicker said via email. “Ben’s a good lawyer and should be back practicing law.”

Dusing shocked Northern Kentucky’s legal community in November 2022 when he told two attorneys involved in his daughter’s custody case to “knock it the **** off” in a Facebook post, adding: “Give me a ****ing reason to blow your ***** up.” Dusing said the Facebook post was “political speech,” intended to draw attention to public corruption, not to threaten violence.

Kenton County Family Court Judge Christopher Mehling called it a “direct threat” to his staff attorney Alice Keyes and Stephanie Dietz, who represented Dusing’s ex-fiancee in the custody case.

Now retired, Mehling said Bachert got it right when he described Dusing’s behavior as “egregious.” But declined to say whether he agreed with the three-year suspension.

Dietz thought Dusing deserved a longer suspension but was happy to learn that Dusing will have to go through a character and fitness assessment if he applies for reinstatement.

“I don’t think Mr. Dusing has taken responsibility for any of his actions,” Dietz said. “I see him placing blame on others for the position that he’s in.”

On that point, Dietz and Bachert agree.

“In the course of five days of testimony, Dusing did not demonstrate any remorse for his actions and did not in the least bit acknowledge that his actions were inappropriate,” Bachert wrote. “In fact, he attempts to ‘double down’ in his testimony attempting to defend all of his filings as appropriate and legally sound.”

The Kentucky Bar Association sought a five-year suspension. Bachert recommended a three-year suspension without credit for the 14 months Dusing has already spent under temporary suspension by the Kentucky Supreme Court. The appeal process could add more than seven months to that temporary suspension, according to court rules.

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