A judge Friday approved suspended local lawyer Chris Bucio's request for early release from a five-year community control sentence ordered in January 2017 following a criminal conviction in Shelby County.
David Greer, a Dayton lawyer representing Bucio, filed the motion for early release Jan. 15 in Shelby County Common Pleas Court, saying Bucio had been rehabilitated and there was no need for continued supervision.
Visiting Judge Timothy Campbell of Greene County, who sentenced Bucio last year, granted the motion after hearing from witnesses including Bucio.
During his testimony, Bucio said he did not know when, if ever, he would reapply to practice law in the state. The Supreme Court has prohibited reapplication until at least Nov. 30, 2019.
Bucio cried after hearing the judge’s decision. He called the experience “humbling.”
“I am grateful this process has allowed me to become a better father, son, husband, friend and have a deeper relationship with God,” Bucio said before leaving the courtroom with family and friends, some who applauded on hearing Campbell’s decision.
Bucio was convicted in that court in November 2016 on felony unauthorized use of property involving land obtained for fees from a Shelby County client. He was accused of taking 22 acres of farm land from the woman in payment for legal representation in 2010, selling the land and keeping the proceeds.
The woman was paid $97,767 restitution by Bucio as part of a settlement agreement just before his sentencing. He was sentenced to five years of community control and a $5,000 fine.
The Ohio Supreme Court Nov. 29 suspended Bucio from the practice of law in the state. The suspension was for an indefinite time.
Bucio’s law firm had offices in several area communities including Troy, Tipp City, Greenville and Sidney.
He spent 48 hours in jail in January after he failed to notify his probation officer that he was out after curfew when he and his family stayed the night at a local hotel because their home’s furnace was out.
The probation officer said he at first talked with Bucio about the failure to report but, after talking with his boss, later told Bucio he would have to spend the jail time. The change came, probation officer Dustin Snow testified, because others on probation would have been found in violation and received that sanction.
Snow said Bucio was considered rehabilitated but the recommendation from the department for continued community control was to avoid setting a precedent by allowing someone off supervision after one year. Others, he said, had to serve at least two years as part of the punishment for their crime.
Campbell said Bucio completed all requirements of community control and had been “more than adequately punished” after taking his family to the hotel because of the furnace problem but failing to report to Snow.
The community control would end as soon as his decision was filed with the court, Campbell said.
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