December 19, 2014

Elyria
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Judge Burge seals attorney’s criminal record

ELYRIA — Over the objections of prosecutors, Lorain County Common Pleas Judge James Burge granted Lorain defense attorney Mike Camera’s request to seal his 1991 perjury conviction.

Camera, who served a year in prison for the case, said after Burge handed down his decision that he had left the criminal conviction on his record for a long time before he sought to have the case expunged.

“I waited 22 years and I’m happy it’s over,” he said.

Lorain County Prosecutor Dennis Will’s office had argued that despite the passage of time, Camera’s request should have been denied so that potential clients would be able to access the case file.
They contended that as a lawyer Camera had a duty to uphold the law and that those considering hiring him should be aware of his past misdeeds.

Camera pleaded guilty in 1991 to the perjury charge after he signed an affidavit in the purchase of seized property during a sheriff’s sale. The affidavit stated that he wasn’t representing anyone that the property had belonged to before it was seized.

But Camera was representing KILJA Corp., which included Song Keith, who had forfeited her ownership of the building as part of a plea bargain that sent her to prison for operating a prostitution ring under the guise of a health spa.

Under the law, she was prohibited from buying the forfeited property back. Camera also had been accused of laundering money for Keith’s organization, but was never charged with those allegations and cooperated with the investigation into Keith.

He lost his license to practice law for several years after being convicted.

Camera previously has said he was taking the advice he has given to his own clients in the past when it came to sealing their records. He also said that it has become harder for people with felony convictions to travel abroad.

Contact Brad Dicken at 329-7147 or bdicken@chroniclet.com.