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Spirit of fun visits an Ohio court Looks like a major outbreak of good naturedness in Cincinnati. Roarie Golder showed up for her hearing on Jan. 6 before Hamilton County Court of Common Pleas Judge Patrick Dinkelacker with a letter from her employer on which she’d put a “Get Out of Jail Free” card from a game of Monopoly. Some might say she was already stretching it: Golder was convicted last April on drug charges and given probation if she would attend counseling. When she reportedly didn’t attend, she was ordered back to court, and the judge had agreed to postpone her sentencing until after the holidays. But when the judge saw the card, he put out a straight-faced call for a consultation with Major Dale Menkhaus of the sheriff’s office. Menkhaus, saying he had a hard time not cracking up, advised that the orange card could not be used at the jail facility. Dinkelacker said he thought it was funny too. Then he sentenced Golder to 30 days. Merger nonmania The numbers are still coming in, but we can see what 2003 wasn’t. The conventional wisdom holds that law firms’ mergers and acquisitions are rampant, and that firms are acting like corporations in their quest for productivity and consolidation. But the consulting firm Hildebrandt Inc. reports that the first nine months of 2003 saw fewer major law firm consolidations than in 2002, when there were 54. The peak year: 2001, with 82. Bad start Pennsylvania Judge Mark Pazuhanich is starting 2004 under a very dark cloud. To give you an idea: The Monroe County, Pa., Republican chairwoman said if he went to a New Year’s celebration for newly elected officials, she’d “rather stick a pencil in my eye” than attend. As the county’s 47-year-old district attorney, Pazuhanich won a hard-fought election on Nov. 4 to become a county judge. He first won the Republican nomination even though the county’s bar association rated his opponents higher. The celebrating was cut short by Pazuhanich’s arrest three weeks later for allegedly groping a 10-year-old girl at a pop concert. Charged with misdemeanors including public drunkenness and endangering the welfare of a child, he’s free on $10,000 unsecured bail. If convicted, he faces up to 10 years in jail. There are reportedly adult witnesses, including a security guard. Pazuhanich has said through his attorneys that he’s innocent. Shortly after the concert, the D.A. entered an alcoholic rehab program because he was under stress and sought help, a spokesman explained. The county’s presiding judge, Ronald E. Vican, said his only authority is to assign or not assign Pazuhanich to hear cases-and he’s not making any assignments for the time being. Vican did ask Pazuhanich to stay away from the swearing-in parties being held for new officials, and he agreed. Instead, one of his campaign supporters, a real estate consultant who is a notary public, quietly swore him in to his 10-year, $112,225-a-year job in a private gathering on Jan. 5. A friend of one of his attorneys delivered the paperwork to the county clerk. Hole in the story Federal investigators like to advise stung investors that if a deal looks too good to be true, it probably is. The same, it seems, goes for low-calorie doughnuts. Robert Ligon, whose Nutrisource factories in Kentucky and Illinois were the subject of a Food and Drug Administration raid, has begun serving a 15-month sentence for alleging his “carob-glazed” doughnuts had only three grams of fat and 135 calories. In fact, the glaze was chocolate, the fat content was 18 grams and the calories topped 500.

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