Press Release 3-15-2018

From: Matt Lynch For Judge Campaign 
Press Contact: Kerri Lynch Quay,, 440-823-7902 

Code of Judicial Conduct Cited

Geauga County, Ohio

       Today Kerri Lynch Quay, the campaign manager for the Matt Lynch For Judge Campaign, called upon Judge Colleen O’Toole to resign from a leadership role of any political organizations. According to Financial Disclosure Statements filed with the Ohio Supreme Court, Judge O'Toole is listed as a “Board Member” of the Lake County NAACP. It is “inappropriate for Judge O’Toole to serve as a member of the NAACP Board or any other political organization,” she said. The Judicial ethics rules prohibit a Judge from being a leader in a political party to avoid any appearance of bias. The Ohio Code of Judicial Conduct, Cannon 4 comment, states that Judges “…are prohibited by division (A)(1) from assuming leadership roles in political organizations.…”

 “Judge O’Toole has been a Board Member of the NAACP for years and this may create the appearance that she agrees with their political agenda,” Ms. Quay said. She continued, “The NAACP may do good work, but it also routinely takes political positions which a Judge should not be part of.” Ms. Quay pointed to some of the recent political statements of the NAACP: 
Opposes Gun Rights
“Repeal all state ‘stand your ground’ laws, ban military-style semi-automatic assault guns”
NAACP Issue Brief 3-1-18
Opposes Cutting Funding to Planned Parenthood
“All federal funding for Planned Parenthood Clinics”
NAACP Action Alert 5-5-17

Opposes Building the “Wall”
“Support For Dreamers”

NAACP Press Release 9-15-1710-9-17
Opposes Repeal of DACA
“Our goal is to prevent the Trump Administration from implementing the full implications of rescinding the DACA program”

NAACP Press Release 9-18-17
Opposes Repeal of Obamacare
“NAACP Stands Against Latest Attempts to Repeal Affordable Care Act”
NAACP 9-21-17 Issue Brief

Opposes President Trump
“NAACP unequivocally denounces the most-recent racist comments by President Donald Trump”

NAACP Press Release 1-12-181-13-18
Opposes Open Internet
“NAACP Denounces FCC Vote to End Net Neutrality”
NAACP Press Release 12-14-17

Opposes Immigration Restrictions
“NAACP Files Legal Brief in Fight Against Muslim Ban”
NAACP Press Release 11-17-17

Opposes Republican Tax Cut
“NAACP Denounces Passage of Trump’s Tax Reform Plan”
NAACP Press Release 11-16-17

“Regardless of how you feel about these issues, a Judge should not align herself with such a clearly political organization. Judge O'Toole should resign from the NAACP Board,” Ms. Quay concluded. 
When asked about Judge O'Toole’s position on the Board of the NAACP, Matt Lynch stated, “I am disappointed that Colleen did not know better. She has had ethical issues with the Ohio Supreme Court in the past and should have learned to be careful about what she does.”  (“Penalty against Judge O'Toole Upheld,Cleveland.Com, 9-24-14)        

"My concern is that Judge O'Toole may be forced to remove herself from any cases involving issues that the NAACP has taken a position on, perhaps making her unable to judge any litigation involving these important public policy issues."     

Matt Lynch continued, "The public must have confidence that the Court is objective and unbiased but by taking a leadership role with the NAACP she creates an appearance that she supports the agenda of the NAACP. That may be fine for politicians but not for a Judge. She should know better, but this has been going on for years.'' 

Karen Lynch Quay said she has written to Judge O'Toole asking her to resign her Board position with the Lake County NAACP. "We don't want to file an ethics Complaint." She said, "We just want Judge O'Toole to do the right thing."    
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