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The Western Star

Blackwell's Son In Trouble for Cheating on Bar Exam:

Son of former Ohio secretary of state in court fight over bar exam


Rahshann Blackwell could be barred from becoming a lawyer before 2009 over investigation findings.

By Laura A. Bischoff

Staff Writer

Wednesday, August 15, 2007

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COLUMBUS — — Rahshann Blackwell showed up for the July 2005 Ohio Bar exam determined not to repeat the grave mistake he made two years prior.

At the 2003 bar exam, Blackwell — the middle child of politician J. Kenneth Blackwell and Cincinnati Schools Superintendent Rosa Blackwell — wrote in the test booklet after time had been called. He lost credit for that portion and failed the bar for the third time.

The Board of Commissioners on Character and Fitness, an arm of the Ohio Supreme Court, decided the 2003 conduct was an aberration and he could take the exam again.

But at the July 2005 exam, Blackwell once again wrote in the booklet after time had been called.

Blackwell, 33, who runs a tax preparation business in Denver, confessed to an exam proctor and later to then Clerk of Courts Marcia Mengel. She reported it to the Board of Bar Examiners, which in turn sent it to the Board of Commissioners on Character and Fitness for investigation.

Blackwell submitted to a psychological exam just days after his father won the GOP nomination for governor. After a two-hour interview, an extensive questionnaire and two psychological tests, Thomas Hustak of Applied Psychological Services in Lima determined Blackwell suffers problems with depression, anxiety, confused thinking, poor concentration, chronic stress and other behavior issues. Hustak told the character and fitness board that Blackwell would have difficulty functioning as a lawyer unless he got these issues addressed. Hustak did not diagnose any specific disorder or illness.

But there were other issues that concerned the board. They learned that Blackwell was sitting in a Colorado jail when he had a staff member mail his March 2005 application to re-take the bar. The application didn't disclose that he had been arrested for failure to provide proof of insurance when stopped on traffic violations. The matters were dropped once he provided insurance proof.

Blackwell noted that he hadn't been cited at the time he had a co-worker mail his application, and he later updated the application.

Attorney Kathleen Trafford, a special investigator for the character and fitness board, argued that the omission showed poor judgment.

Blackwell also failed to disclose that the University of Denver sued him in August 2003 for $6,200 in unpaid tuition. That case was dismissed in April 2004 after his father paid the bill.

Blackwell had also been arrested in September 2005 at a Laundromat parking lot in Denver when some Guardian Angels saw him looking into a black cloth bag hanging on a telephone pole. The Angels called police who arrested Blackwell and charged him with disorderly conduct and marijuana possession. The charges were dismissed two months later and Blackwell disclosed this incident in his subsequent bar exam application.

The character and fitness board wants the Supreme Court to prohibit Blackwell from taking the bar exam again until February 2009, and only then if he has undergone psychological treatment.

Blackwell, who represented himself before the court on Tuesday, said he is not seeking treatment and he wants his 2005 exam to be scored and counted.

Blackwell noted that Hustak's evaluation doesn't explain how Blackwell has managed to graduate from law school and successfully run a tax preparation business for 400 clients.

His father, who found out the day before that Rahshann would be before the Supreme Court, showed up for the oral arguments. He said he supports his son and is confident he'll pass the bar.


Copyright ©2007 Cox Ohio Publishing, Dayton, Ohio, USA. All rights reserved.


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Read About Blackwell's Character
Renewal for Ohioians:

Blackwell’s Un-American Scheme:
 
Under the Guise of “Character and Civic
Renewal” Ohio State Foists a Religious
Moral Code upon Its Citizens

by Katherine Yurica

J. Kenneth Blackwell has stepped to the
forefront of the American culture wars. He has
posted his official endorsement of a 20-point
religious moral code claimed to be “a shared
vocabulary of character-building ethics” on Ohio’s
official Secretary of State web site. Blackwell
wrote, “Character is the cornerstone of American
citizenship. And good citizenship is the foundation
of community. But to a lot of people, civic renewal
means the opportunity to not only religionize our
government, but, as we shall see, to create a new
religion that is decidedly not Christianity. Instead,
it is an opportunity to convert our citizens into docile
followers of a new authoritarian rule.

 

Separation of Church and State Directory

 

 

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paying the seminary bills to educate chaplains who
are planning to supplant the U.S. government?
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America's Holy Warriors

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organization while in uniform and on active duty.

 

 

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