July 25, 2016

Mostly cloudy

Assistant Medina County prosecutor suspended

MEDINA — An assistant Medina County prosecutor has been suspended from practicing law due to fraudulent real estate dealings in private practice that occurred about a decade ago.

Tom Karris, of Strongsville, was suspended Sept. 1 by the Ohio Supreme Court for six months. According to the court, there is “clear and convincing evidence that Karris engaged in dishonesty, fraud and deceit that adversely reflected on his ability to practice law by improperly notarizing documents on three separate occasions” in the early 2000s.

Medina County Prosecutor Dean Holman said Karris is leaving the prosecutors’ office immediately.

“He’s wrapping up his (court) files today, and then he’ll be leaving,” Holman said Friday. “This decision was effective last Thursday morning (Sept. 1), and he stopped working here as an assistant prosecutor that day.”

In a brief phone interview Friday, Karris declined to discuss specifics regarding his suspension.

“It’s probably not appropriate to discuss the case,” said Karris, who said that he enjoyed working as an assistant prosecutor.

“I’m leaving the prosecutor’s office, and I’d just like to tell everyone it was a pleasure serving Medina County,” he said.

Holman has not decided whether Karris will return after the six-month suspension is up and noted the assistant was an asset to the office.

“Tom did tremendous work here and is a skilled litigator,” said Holman, who added that Karris’ situation marks the first time an assistant prosecutor has left his office due to misconduct.

Holman has served as the county prosecutor since January 1989.

Karris joined the prosecutor’s office in the spring of 2008, Holman said. He previously served as an assistant in 1989 to 1991.

At full staff, the county prosecutor’s office has 16 deputy or assistant attorneys on the payroll, Holman said.

“We’re losing a good worker, and someone who worked hard for Medina County,” Holman said.

Karris said it would be up to Holman whether he returns after the suspension. He was unsure about any specific plans during the time of his work stoppage.

Contact Steve Grazier at (330) 721-4012 or sgrazier@medina-gazette.com.