SIDNEY – Former local attorney Christopher Bucio will go to court Friday afternoon to state his case to be released from community control sanctions just over a year of being sentenced. The case involves the sale of land in exchange for professional services.
Bucio, 39, of Sidney, along with his attorney, David C. Greer of Dayton, will be part of the hearing set for 2 p.m. in Shelby County Common Pleas Court.
According to online court records, on Jan. 19 Bucio filed an affidavit requesting his early release from the sanctions based on the original plea agreement. The filing included details of his jailing involving a questionable ruling made by Shelby County Chief Adult Probation Officer Ruth Cooper.
According to court records, on Aug. 18, 2010, Linda Heucker of Sidney was arrested on charges of cultivation of marijuana, a second-degree felony, and endangering children, a third-degree felony. Lacking available funds, Heucker employed Bucio in an agreement to have a 22-acre tract of farmland serve as financial backing to hire him and his firm, Roberts, Kelly and Bucio, LLP.
Eventually, the land was deeded to the firm and sold for $135,000, unbeknownst to Heucker, all of which was retained by the law firm. The court ordered the money be returned to Heucker, which has been paid in full.
On Nov. 30, 2016, Bucio pleaded guilty to a negotiated charge of unauthorized use of property, a fourth-degree felony. He was facing the possibility of a maximum of 18 months in prison and a $5,000 fine.
On Jan. 20, 2017, Bucio was sentenced to a maximum of five years community control through the Shelby County Adult Probation Department by retired visiting Judge J. Timothy Campbell of Greene County.
Part of the plea agreement stated that if Bucio conducted himself as instructed by probation officers, and paid all fines, court costs, and fees, the court would consider his early release from community control after one year of his sentencing date.
In early January 2017, Bucio was suspended from practicing law for an interim period. This included a two-year suspension with 12 months stayed. However, on Nov. 29, 2017, the Ohio Supreme Court ruled he was to be indefinitely suspended. The ruling meant Bucio could not seek reinstatement until Nov. 30, 2019.
A furnace malfunction led to the possibility of Bucio being denied the release and the ability to reapply for his approval to practice law.
The records indicate Bucio and his family attended his daughter’s swim meet at the Sidney-Shelby County YMCA on Nov. 18, 2017. When they returned home that evening the heating unit in their home had malfunctioned and unable to be fixed until the following day.
Bucio, his wife, and three minor children checked into the Sidney Comfort Inn due to the lack of heat. He admits not calling his probation officer due to an “unexpected and stressful emergency on a Saturday night.”
Bucio received a warning for not informing authorities on his stay away from his residence. Cooper would soon overturn the warning and order Bucio being given an in-house infraction.
Based on departmental rules, the curfew debacle resulted in a mandatory 48-hour incarceration in the county jail. On Saturday, Jan. 6, Bucio voluntarily reported to the jail around 6 p.m. to serve his sentence. He was released early in the day Jan. 8.
The writer is a regular contributor to the Sidney Daily News.