HUBBARD - In the wake of attorney Robert Johnson's suspension, the city of Hubbard is moving forward with a new prosecuting attorney.
Hubbard Law Director Mark Villano said Monday evening that the city has retained the services of attorney Ursula Shugart on an interim basis. Shugart will take over the caseload of Johnson, who previously handled cases originating out of Hubbard in Girard Municipal Court.
Johnson was suspended earlier this month by the Ohio Supreme Court, which claimed he failed to file an answer to a formal complaint developing out of a Lorain County case.
A Supreme Court website also spells out allegations from a foreclosure case handled by Johnson for a local woman and pending in Trumbull County Common Pleas Court and another case in which Johnson represented a man in a divorce action.
Earlier this month, Johnson told the Tribune Chronicle it was all a misunderstanding that had him puzzled. He said he's never had a case in Lorain, has never had anything filed against him, and is working to get the matters cleared up.
Villano said the decision to replace Johnson was necessary because the city has cases in Girard that will be heard today.
"We have seven cases that are through Girard right now on continuance," Villano said. "We had a couple of people inquire about the position, but we could not afford to wait any longer."
Shugart practices out of Boardman, but said she has also maintained a practice in Hubbard for the past 10 years. While her website lists her primary focus as bankruptcy law, Shugart said she has experience prosecuting criminal cases.
"I have been an assistant prosecutor in Summit County Juvenile Court before I went into private practice," Shugart said. "Aside from bankruptcy, I have practiced various areas of law during my career."
Shugart said the opportunity came about through a mutual conversation with Villano, and that she is prepared to assume Johnson's duties for however long his suspension is in place.
"I know that this position comes with a great deal of responsibility, and I intend to handle that responsibility with professionalism,"Shugart said.
Johnson was also replaced Feb. 1 as the prosecutor in Girard Municipal Court handling cases originating out of Girard.