Attorney claims football connection creates bias

Updated: September 26, 2003, 12:54 PM ET
ESPN.com news services

Perhaps the Ohio State football connection isn't considered so favorable after all.

An attorney for Maurice Clarett has asked Franklin County Municipal Court Judge Steven Hayes, son of Ohio State coaching legend Woody Hayes, to disqualify himself from his assignment as the judge in Clarett's misdemeanor case, the Cleveland Plain-Dealer reported Friday.

Columbus attorney Percy Squire claimed, in an affadavit filed with the court, that Hayes should disqualify himself because "the particular nature of the claims and defenses that will ... have to be raised in this matter, will create circumstances where the impartiality of Judge Hayes may reasonably be questioned," according to the paper.

In the memorandum, Squire continued by saying that Hayes' "unique tie" to Ohio State through his father and the high profile of Clarett's case "will clearly create questions as to whether Woody Hayes' son may tend to favor the university or perhaps react with greater zeal to issues concerning the university than would otherwise be the case."

Woody Hayes coached the Buckeyes' football team from 1951 to 1978, leading them to five national titles. He died in 1987.

Clarett filed a police report in April in which he said that more than $10,000 in clothing, cash and stereo equipment had been stolen from a 2001 Monte Carlo he had been driving. Reports later surfaced that some of the items belonged to the car's owner and that Clarett had exaggerated their value. Clarett was later charged with one count of filing a false report.