A part-time magistrate (judicial commissioner) has been fired for some "highly inappropriate comments" to female inmates during bond hearings.
Chief Magistrate Larry Ables said in a letter to Joe Rehyansky that the comments "were overheard during bond hearings for some female inmates who were brought to see you on March 18. These comments were confirmed by several employees of the jail and the court clerk."
Chief Magistrate Ables said in the letter, "In light of these comments, I will no longer need your services as a part-time judicial commissioner."
Mr. Rehyansky on Thursday said he regrets some comments made when it was late and he was tired.
He said when a female inmate leaned over he said, "I am not giving you an OR bond because of the cleavage."
Mr. Rehyansky said he was speaking with a female inmate telling her about judicial diversion. He said it was loud in the chambers, so he gave her his card and phone number and told her she could call him later.
Chief Magistrate Ables, who said the departure leaves him without any part-time magistrates, also told Mr. Rehyansky in the letter, "I would like to start this letter by stating how much I appreciate your service to the people of this community and the help that you have given me as a part-time judicial commissioner. The job of a judicial commissioner is often thankless, but you have performed your duties without complaint."
He ended the letter by saying, "I wish you luck in all future endeavors."
Chief Magistrate Ables went before the County Commission's security and corrections committee on Thursday morning to discuss the need for a new part-time magistrate.
It was not until near the end of the session that Commissioner Fred Skillern asked why there was a need for a new part-time magistrate. Chief Magistrate Ables then told of the incident.
Commission members asked why they had not been advised of the incident by the chief magistrate when it first happened. Chief Magistrate Ables said he sent a letter to Commissioner Larry Henry by inter-office mail and by a certified letter. Commissioner Henry said Thursday morning "was the first time I've seen this letter."
Chairman Curtis Adams said the chief magistrate should have started out the meeting with that information.
Commissioner Skillern said some commissioners had learned otherwise of the incident.
Commissioner John Brooks said, "That's Judge Bob Moon sticking his nose in something he doesn't run."
Judge Moon said later, "First, let me say that Magistrate Joe Rehyansky is a good man and was an effective district attorney general who prosecuted many cases before me. I consider him a friend.
"Nonetheless, I received information that a female defendant had received a very inappropriate remark from Magistrate Rehyansky during the setting of her bond. I was also informed that personal contact information was exchanged. I assume that because the Hamilton County Commissioners have reportedly and repeatedly asked the General Sessions judges to supervise magistrates, that the county employees who contacted me believed that I had some supervisory or disciplinary authority over the magistrates. I do not. The General Sessions Court judges do not.
"However, contrary to Mr. Brooks' comment about my inquiry into the matter, it is important for him to know I was asked to do so by those concerned county employees who happened to be women. I learned that Mr. Reyanksy had been terminated by Chief Magistrate Larry Ables, a week before my inquiry based upon alleged "inappropriate comments to a female defendant during a bond hearing."
Chief Magistrate Ables said lining up a new part-time magistrate will not cost any more money.
Commissioner Jim Coppinger said he had believed that when a fourth magistrate was added that the part-time magistrates would no longer be needed.
Chief Magistrate Ables said they are used sparingly, but are needed in cases of vacations or illness.
He said the four magistrates can provide around-the-clock coverage except for about five hours a week - when they are all available.
The magistrates set bonds and sign warrants at the county jail, including on nights and weekends when regular judges are not there.