This newspaper wholeheartedly supports the Geauga County Commissioners public opposition to proposed House Bill 488, which would authorize a court of common pleas to employ an attorney to provide legal services to the judge or court officials.

Co-sponsored by State Rep. Diane Grendell (R-Chesterland), the proposed legislation is receiving criticism far and wide from both sides of the aisle - including the commissioners, who all happen to be Republicans.

While the purpose of the proposed bill is clear, the motive behind it may not be. It’s no secret that State Rep. Grendell’s husband is Judge Timothy Grendell, who happens to serve in the specific judicial arena that would benefit from the proposed legsilation. It’s also no secret that members of Judge Grendell’s staff have been involved in various court cases in recent months.

As we understand the bill, taxpayers could automatically be on the hook for any/all future lawsuits that would qualify.

We fully recognize and appreciate the fact that our federal - and state - constitutions provide for three equal branches of government: executive, legislative, and judicial. And we also fully recognize and appreciate those three branches exist to provide checks and balances among each.

As Commissioner Timothy Lennon noted during Tuesday’s meeting, “It’s not a one-way street. It’s a give-and-take.”

State Rep. Grendell’s argument is that she believes judges like her husband should have the same privilege that all the other branches of government have.

We contend that they already do. Recent legal wranglings coming from Judge Grendell’s office is just one, but important example.

We look forward to continuing to monitor the proposed piece of legislation and we will no doubt further editorialize about the same as new developments are handed down.

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