October 20, 2014

Elyria
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Burge lifts order recusing himself from Cillo cases

Burge

Burge

Cillo

Cillo

ELYRIA — Lorain County Common Pleas Judge James Burge on Thursday lifted his own order barring himself from hearing cases being handled by Assistant County Prosecutor Tony Cillo.

Burge in January removed himself from several cases pending in his courtroom that Cillo was assigned to, including a capital murder case.

At the time, Burge said his decision was motivated by a desire to focus on his duties as administrative judge and because of what he saw as a waste of county Prosecutor Dennis Will’s resources on efforts to get the Ohio Supreme Court to kick him off Cillo’s cases.

Burge said Thursday that his January order didn’t have the effect he thought it would.

“When I first recused myself, it was as much for Attorney Cillo’s benefit as mine, so that he could practice in front of a judge or judges with whom he felt more comfortable,” Burge said. “At this juncture, it would appear that my recusal did not solve the problem and the other judges need everyone’s help in resolving these sensitive cases.”

Burge’s January order prevented him from serving on two judicial panels hearing death penalty cases because Cillo works on all capital cases in the county. He was selected to serve on the case of Vincent Jackson Jr. in February, but Will’s office took the issue to Ohio Supreme Court Chief Justice Maureen O’Connor, who determined Burge couldn’t pick and choose which of Cillo’s cases he was involved with.

But O’Connor also wrote in her decision that if circumstances changed, Burge could lift his order and once again take on cases Cillo was assigned to work on.

Will said Thursday he didn’t have an explanation for why Burge had decided he could hear Cillo’s cases again, although he said Burge’s explanation didn’t make much sense to him.

“I’ll deal with it when I have to,” Will said. “I’m not sure what prompted this.”

Will also called Burge’s suggestion that he is wasting resources trying to have the judge removed from certain cases “ridiculous.” Will said he takes that step only when he feels he needs to do so in order to receive a fair hearing.

Burge said Thursday that shouldn’t be a problem.

“I always believed I could be fair,” he said.

Before O’Connor’s ruling in the Jackson case, prosecutors were able to force Burge off only one case. O’Connor ruled last year that Burge’s comments to the media could lead the public to conclude he had become Cillo’s adversary in the case of death row inmate Stanley Jalowiec, who is seeking a new trial.

But O’Connor rejected Cillo’s request for a blanket order removing Burge from all of his cases.

“Judges are presumed to be capable of putting aside old disagreements with former opposing counsel and attorneys appearing before them, and nothing in Cillo’s affidavits would lead a reasonable person to conclude that Judge Burge has developed such a strong personal bias against Cillo — based on their history — that the judge would be unable to preside fairly over cases involving him,” O’Connor wrote last May.

Burge, a former defense attorney, frequently tried cases against Cillo before he took the bench in 2007.

Since he became a judge, Burge and prosecutors have frequently clashed on issues, most recently a court-run diversion program overseen by the county’s judges that Will contends is illegal under state law.

Will asked the Supreme Court to shut down the four-year-old program earlier this month.

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


  • Simon Jester

    Burge needs to be removed from office.

    • Americaschild

      cillio needs to fly away

  • givemeabreak1234

    Cillio had a nervous break down? Really he did.

    • Scout

      Didn’t read that in the article unless I missed it… are you just throwing things out there to see what sticks to the wall? If that’s the case you give Burge way too much power over people. The types of cases these people deal with can certainly cause them angst.

      • guest

        They deal with the sickest of the sicko’s. That could leave anyone to some mental health issues, if this is even true and even if it were, it’s none of our business what his condition of health is. I would think that people who hear these heinous acts being done to others would cause someone to have a therapist on call!

    • Americaschild

      this guy needs to go back to law school and learn whine better

      • stillsleepyeyes

        maybe burge should go with him………………but then he dose have the whining part down…………just not the judge part…………

        • givemeabreak1234

          it wasn’t in the article, I just know it happened I’m surprised he came back. Burge doesn’t have anyone to answer to so he is who he is. He doesn’t need to feed into the

          Politics of lorain

  • golfingirl

    Vacation over!

    Time to get back to work on behalf of the criminals who were wrongly punished while you were gone.

    Really don’t need you, the Miraldi’s have done a fine job of stepping in and picking right up where you left off…….being soft on murderers.

    • gollfingirl

      Judge Burge is one of the finest judges ever in the history of Lorain County.

      Thats my take on it.

  • Americaschild

    Thank goodness. Burge played in to the hands of dumb. Now, get back and follow the law and let Cillo whine.

  • Scout

    Would he care for some cheese with the ‘whine’…

    • Bill Love

      Was cillo the prosecutor in a case against you. Why are you trying to bash a good man trying to do his job

  • Ex_Subscriber

    Simon Jester’s got it right. Burge needs to be removed from office. He’s an embarrassment to Lorain County and to the legal profession in my opinion. He’s been playing “part-time” judge too long. Of course, Burge does return to the capital case docket still packing his anti-death penalty bias. Not that it apparently matters in Lorain County, anyway. Just ask Vincent Jackson, but don’t make him mad when you do it – he apparently aims for the head when he gets angry.

  • Chris Smith

    Please tell me how Cillo is being bashed when he is obviously passionate about victims/victim’s families of violent crimes. Accusing Burge of being unfair when trying to prosecute repeat, violent offenders, isn’t whining. Given Burge’s light sentences to every criminal that has come before him, society should want him removed from all cases, not just Cillo’s. If my family was the victim of one of these crimes, I sure would want a judge that is going to impose a harsh sentence, and a prosecutor that makes sure this happens.

    • guest

      Absolutely!

  • Joe Flabetz

    Burge has the famous Black Robe Disease, one of the symptoms is the thought of being God and the ability to be fair and unbiased no matter how much he hates the prosecutors and the prosecutors office. If all else fails, just issue another self serving court order.

    Let’s all meet down at the lake, and watch you walk on the water.

    One of the most self serving Judges in Lorain County’s history.

  • golfingirl

    And what about the ones who are captured on video, shooting a pleading victim in the head, even after they cooperate and turn over $12k?

    One who was just released from prison for shooting another person in the head, who fortunately survived?

    One who confesses, only because the evidence is overwhelming and they are caught in the act?

    These are the ones, when either set free, or given a reduced sentence, that disgust me.

    Not wrongfully convicted, but wrongfully sentenced!

    I can only believe if you were the victim, or a mother of the victim, your opinion would be different.

    • Lisa Mcconaughey

      Apparently you didn’t READ what I said…it ok it happens. NO physically evidence!!! Just what one person said… Please read that carefully.

      • Lisa Mcconaughey

        Ps I am family of the wrongly accused and wrongly imprisoned. Later proven innocent.

        • golfingirl

          Sorry to hear about your family member, who was innocent, but found guilty. Hope it is all settled now.

          The point here, is that Judge Burge has a reputation of letting “proven, evidenced based criminals” off the hook over and over again.

          I agree, a person must be convicted on reliable and valid evidence, but when there is indisputable proof, even confessions, they receive passive and lenient sentences by the judge in this article.

          It is not about wrongful conviction, but about wrongful sentencing when the evidence is there. This is what infuriates me. They get out and repeat their criminal ways, often times at the expense of innocent, law abiding citizens.

          Have a great weekend.

          • Godfather

            Yea goofyturdstain, why dont you move to Africa.

            You will like it there.

            Oh my.

        • Brian_Reinhardt

          If you don’t like the system, please feel free to move to a country with a better one.

    • Godfather

      Goofygirl never reads what others post. It merely makes its own decisions based on nonsense. Thats goofypuke.

  • Sis Delish

    Bring back stoning.

    • golfingirl

      It is coming back, with the legalization of marijuana.

      My bad, I thought you said “stoners.”

      • Sis Delish

        Maybe you should read twice, comment once.

        • golfingirl

          And maybe you should stop pretending to be someone else.

          • Sis Delish

            Not sure what you mean, I have been me since I woke up.

          • Godfather

            Two of the biggest morons around.

            Carry on.

            Thanks!

          • Sis Delish

            Will do!

            Thanks for noticing!

          • stillsleepyeyes

            And their godfather, carry on……………….love the entertainment…………..

          • golfingirl

            Godfather is now me.

            He is still “carrying on,” but with an alternate persona.

            He has adopted my name and photo as his own.

            Very creepy !!!

          • golfingirl

            Seems my impostor has added a second “L” to my screen name golfingirl.

            This is such an old trick, cut and paste a photo and change the name ever so slightly so it is hardly detectable.

            I suppose imitation is the greatest form of flattery. Thank you for the compliment.

            Such a child!

          • gollfingirl

            And maybe people hate racist folks like me.
            You think I care?

          • golfingirl

            Seems my impostor has added a second “L” to my screen name golfingirl.

            This is such an old trick, cut and paste a photo and change the name ever so slightly so it is hardly detectable.

            I suppose imitation is the greatest form of flattery. Thank you for the compliment.

          • golfingirl

            GolLfingirl ( with 2 “L’s”) = Godfather

            Really Godfather?

            All your old posts now have my photo and name, but with an extra “L.”

            Are you really that stupid?

            Just plain creepy!

          • golfingirl

            GODFATHER, and maybe you should stop pretending you are me?

            Are you that starved for attention?

            What happened, did your mother not breast feed you as an infant?

          • gollfingirl

            GODFATHER, and maybe you should stop pretending you are me?

            Are you that starved for attention? What gives?

            Are you mad because I admit I am a racist and that I said all blacks pretty much look alike?

  • Simon Jester

    You’re an idiot.

  • golfingirl

    Seems I too now have an impostor.

    My impostor has added a second “L” to my screen name golfingirl.

    This is such an old, elementary trick; cut and paste a photo and change the name ever so slightly in an effort to fool others into believing he is me.

    As they say, imitation is the greatest form of flattery. Agrees with me so often, he simply decided to take my name, and even my picture.

    Thank you for the compliment.

    • golfingirl

      GolLfingirl ( with 2 “L’s”) = Godfather

      Really Godfather?

      All your old posts now have my photo and name, but with an extra “L.” Are you actually that stupid?

      Just plain creepy!

  • DJ Dell

    Exactly, thank you for posting that link. This is why prosecutors who concoct evidence, hide evidence that might prove innocence, are guilty of misconduct, coerce testimony, manipulate the police, etc. in order to win even if the accused is innocent should be the ones removed and imprisoned. In the meantime, the truly guilty go free. We need more judges like Burge who stand up to bullies like Cillo and Will to ensure a truly fair trial and justice is served. Its amazing how ignorant much of the public is when it comes to what prosecutors actually do. They win 95% of the time because they control the police and all the evidence, but 95% of the suspects are not guilty, and there are a huge number of proven innocent people in jail since DNA testing has become available awaiting a re-trial that may never come with limited resources after having lost 10, 20, 30 years of their lives behind bars. People like Will and Cillo are on power trips and don’t give a f— about what they do to other people’s lives. They use the guise of being “tough on crime” when they’re actually tough on whoever gets in their way – guilty or innocent.

  • guest

    Anthony Cillo, is a hero to victims of crime. He is professional and determined to fight for victims. Someday, he will be a judge and a fair one.

  • Americaschild

    Cillo owes Burge. Cillo isnt a fair or even good attoney. Free adversiving

  • Lee Brown

    Burge is good for the justice system