Judge Lance Mason arrested
James W. Wade III | 8/6/2014, 10 a.m.
This past weekend Cuyahoga County Common Pleas Judge Lance T. Mason was arrested for Domestic Violence against his wife Aisha Mason.
A little after noon Sat., Aug. 2, Mason, 46, started punching his biting and choking her while driving on Van Aken Boulevard in Shaker Heights with their four year old and three year old children in the backseat. Friends and family had just seen them together at a relative’s funeral at Williams Temple earlier that day.
A female witness called into 911 at 12:12 p.m. when she saw them fighting inside the SUV. The woman said she was exiting the train at Ashby Road and Van Aken Blvd. when she saw two people fighting inside a burnt orange SUV driving on Van Aken Blvd.
The caller said the SUV slammed on the brakes in the middle of the road. The caller also said she saw “fists flying” inside the car. Then, at 12:14 p.m., Aisha called 9-1-1 and told a dispatcher her husband attacked her in front of her two children and threw her from their SUV.
Aisha was very concerned about her children and told dispatchers she had flagged down a passing car and called 9-1-1. The passersby drove her to South Pointe Hospital in Warrensville Heights. Aisha told them her husband struck her and threw her out of the car at Van Aken Blvd. and Avalon Road and pleaded with dispatchers to find her children.
Almost 30 minutes later at 12:42 p.m., police arrested Mason and confiscated smoke grenades, semi-automatic rifles, a sword, a bulletproof vest and more than 2,500 rounds of ammunition.
A member of Mason’s family called Cleveland police and said she was afraid he was going to use weapons inside his home near the Shaker Heights border to commit suicide, the report said.
Police arrived at Mason’s home and he surrendered. Once inside a police car, he admitted to having weapons in his bedroom and the attic of his home.
Mason was taken to Shaker Heights Municipal Jail where the police report shows he did request counsel. It also states he had made statements about a desire to commit suicide. On Monday, Aug, 4, Mason appeared in court via video where prosecutors charged him with assault, a second-degree felony, which carries between two years and eight years in prison. Charging documents show Mason choked, punched and bit his wife, whose orbital bone was fractured during the alleged attack.
Shaker Heights Chief Prosecutor C. Randolph Keller talked about Mason attacking his wife and shared that he and Aisha separated in March. Mason, in the only time he spoke during the hearing, said he and his wife each took care of their two children about half the time. Shaker Heights prosecutors said the two children are being cared for by grandparents.
Shaker Heights Municipal Court Judge K.J. Montgomery set bond at $65,000 and ordered a protection order that stipulates Mason stay at least 500 feet away from his wife and children.
Court Administrator Greg Popovich made it clear that people with cases in Mason’s courtroom should expect their cases to continue as planned. At this moment, it’s unclear exactly how Mason’s docket will proceed. Another judge could assume Mason’s caseload. The court has reported that if he makes bail, he would be able to come back and hear cases.
“A judge must be indicted on felony charges, not just arrested in order to be removed from the bench,” said Ohio Supreme Court spokesman Bret Crow. If indicted, the Ohio Supreme Court would remove Mason from the bench while his case is pending.
He would continue to receive his pay of $121,350.
On Monday afternoon, Aisha filed for divorce. The paperwork included gross neglect of duty and extreme cruelty. This filing was done by Aisha through her attorney Joyce E. Barrett. In the filing, she said, “Lance had struck me in the face, yanked my hair, and slammed my head into the dashboard and armrest of the car.”
At press time, Mason had not made bail and was still detained in Shaker Heights jail.