Wednesday, the Mandamus Action filed against Juvenile Court Judge Melissa Powers was dismissed when the judge recused herself from the case. Her intent was to evade the legal process by which another court would review her actions - or in this case - her lack of action, in a child abuse case before the bench.
For over 4 months, Judge Powers refused to rule on motions and objections filed in a case she was presiding over. The case was a child abuse case in which a minor was held in custody and experienced significant trauma due to her ordering him taken into state custody despite multiple family members willing to take him in and seeking legal custody. The judge refused to rule on the objections as to placing the minor in the state's custody, seeking discovery and appointment of legal counsel. Basic, fundamental legal rights.
When the complaint for mandamus - requesting an order to make the judge rule on matters before the court - was filed, Judge Powers immediately recused herself to evade judicial review.
Now, a "visiting judge" from Brown County is assigned to hear the case. Meanwhile, the minor is still being held in state custody, despite being placed with the same family members who sought custody at the Day 1 hearing.
Plaintiffs said they will be seeking to re-file the case in federal court as a class action. Judge Powers has an abysmal record of failing to adjudicate her cases timely. Multiple staff members have confidentially told The Cincinnati Post that Judge Powers is frequently absent from the court house and delegates her responsibilities to other staff members. Judge Powers' record with the Ohio Supreme Court indicates that she fails to adjudicate her cases timely 41% of the time.
Meanwhile, traumatized, abused children remain in held in limbo waiting for the judge to return from frequent trips to Florida for long weekends and having time to respond to legal pleadings. This, despite the fact that she hired the ousted judge, Williams, as her personal "special projects administrator" for over $100K a year and without any job description nor open competition for the unposted position.
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