Thomas Walkley

Earlier this year, we told you the strange tale of Thomas Walkley. A lawyer in Ohio, Walkley founded and runs Cafe 41:11, a coffeeshop for at-risk youth. Back in January, Walkley was accused of exposing himself to two teenage boys who applied to work at the cafe.

Walkley admitted showing his junk to the teens, but claimed that it was done for educational and mentoring purposes. Guys at my all-boys Catholic high school used to educate and mentor me all the time, it was no big deal.

The authorities didn’t buy Walkley’s argument. They tried to take him to trial.

Now we have some updates on Tom Walkley — plus comments given to Above the Law by a mother whose teenage son worked for Walkley at Cafe 41:11….

Since we first reported on Thomas Walkley, he has received good news and bad news. The good news: Walkley learned how to operate a belt and a zipper fly when around at-risk youths.

Just kidding. The real good news is that earlier this summer, Walkley, 53, essentially got off on the criminal charges.

Judge David Fish initially declared Walkley mentally incompetent to stand trial, but ordered Walkley to undergo a psychological evaluation and a 30-day treatment program, in an effort to restore Walkley’s competence. Last month, Judge Fish dismissed the two misdemeanor charges against Walkley, after efforts to restore Walkley’s competence were apparently unsuccessful.

The bad news: efforts to restore Walkley’s competence were unsuccessful! And if Walkley isn’t mentally competent to stand trial, maybe he shouldn’t be allowed to go to trial, or otherwise represent clients. The Akron Beacon Journal reports:

The Akron Bar Association’s grievance committee has asked the Ohio Supreme Court to suspend the law license of Norton attorney Thomas Walkley, arguing that he is a danger to the public…. In the request to suspend the law license, the general counsel of the Akron Bar, William Chris, outlined Walkley’s competency issues.

Allowing him to continue practicing law, Chris’ filing stated, “would surely be detrimental to his clients, prejudicial to the administration of justice and pose a substantial threat of serious harm to the public.” ….

The Akron bar’s action comes after a July 15 Beacon Journal story detailing Walkley’s criminal charges and his continued representation of an elderly woman in a probate case while the issue of his competency was before Judge Fish.

In defense of Thomas Walkley, however, we did hear from one mother whose son worked for Walkley without incident. The upshot is that her son never had any problems with Walkley.

“I was aware that possibly Mr. Walkley might be an old homo, but I was not afraid for my son,” she wrote. She noted her son’s ability to look out for himself, as a street-smart 18-year-old, 6’1″ in height. (I wouldn’t mind seeing pics of this strapping young lad to verify her claim.)

Our correspondent informed her son about the indecent exposure charges against Walkley, showing him a newspaper article about the case. Her son “expressed mild surprise” and said that “he’d never had anything weird happen with Walkley.”

Regardless of whatever issues he might be experiencing today, it seems that Thomas Walkley has helped many young people over the years. We hope he can get his act together and return to doing good works.

Akron Bar asks court to suspend Norton lawyer [Akron Beacon Journal]

Earlier: Lawyer of the Day: A Peeping Trou-Dropping Tom


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