Bowling Green attorney Andrew Schuman has to finish his original jail time after the Ohio Supreme Court voided the trial court judge’s changes to his sentence.
Schuman, 48, was found guilty in August of tampering with evidence, perjury and theft by retired Judge Peter Handwork, who was sitting as a visiting judge.
The tampering with evidence charge was related to covering up a reported vehicular collision with a fire hydrant during the summer of 2017.
The theft charge reportedly was related to a grievance previously filed against Schuman by a family that was overcharged for his services, and the perjury charge included an alleged offense date of Dec. 31, 2014.
Handwork sentenced Schuman to probation, including 45 days in jail and to have no contact with felons or persons on probation or parole.
According to Wood County Prosecutor Paul Dobson, Schuman appealed his conviction to the 6th District Court of Appeals.
Dobson said that when a case is appealed to a higher court, the trial court no longer has jurisdiction to make decisions on the case. However, after filing the appeal, Schuman’s attorney filed motions before Handwork to reduce his jail time to 30 days and to allow him to have contact with felons and people on probation or parole for the purpose of his job as an attorney.
Dobson’s office objected to those motions on the grounds that the court had no authority to grant them.
“He didn’t have the jurisdiction to do either of those,” Dobson said of Handwork.
However, Handwork did grant both motions, reducing Schuman’s sentence to 30 days and allowing him the requested contact for purposes of his employment.
Dobson said that his office then filed a petition in the Ohio Supreme Court asking it to declare that Handwork had acted outside his authority and that the changes to his sentence were void and unenforceable.
Last week, the high court struck down both revisions to Schuman’s sentence, saying the judge had lost jurisdiction when Schuman filed an appeal in the case.
“We were right,” Dobson said about the decision. “The judge had no jurisdiction to issue either order.”
Since Handwork has since retired fully from the practice of law, the Supreme Court stated that he should make no other decisions on the case.
Schuman was required to immediately return to jail to finish serving out his sentence, which is 15 days; he did so late last week.
He also will not be permitted to have contact with felons or persons on probation or parole, even for his law practice.
Schuman was previously suspended from practicing law for six months. That suspension started in December 2017 and was originally for one year, with the final six months of that term stayed on conditions. In June 2018 he was reinstated to practice law.
The charges stem from the attorney’s actions in both Wood and Hancock counties but were heard together in Wood County.