Norwalk attorney battling with the bottle

Reese M. Wineman doesn't know when he became an alcoholic. "It's hard to tell exactly, but I probably drank too much over the years," the Norwalk attorney said.
Cary Ashby
Jul 26, 2010


Reese M. Wineman doesn't know when he became an alcoholic.

"It's hard to tell exactly, but I probably drank too much over the years," the Norwalk attorney said.

He suspects alcoholism became an issue 10 to 12 years ago.

Wineman, 61, remembers drinking in the morning, afternoon and evening, saying he "couldn't get enough."

"I didn't experience a lot of blackouts, but I had some blackouts," he said. "(It's) no way to live.

"I believe it's a disease," Wineman said. "I've been sober since July '07."

Alcohol-related incidents from August 3, 2006 in Huron County Common Pleas Court and May 9, 2007 in Norwalk Municipal Court have landed him in hot water. As a result, the Board of Commissioners on Grievances and Disciplines, in its final Dec. 17, report, ruled Wineman would be suspended from practicing law for two years.

The board stayed its decision, putting him essentially on probation, and said Wineman had to comply with the recommendations from the Ohio Lawyers Assistance Program. It's set up for attorneys with drug, alcohol and emotional problems. He must also make quarterly reports to a "monitoring attorney" and "must not commit any further misconduct" to continue practicing law.

In the 2006 incident, a Huron County sheriff's deputy handling courthouse security suspected Wineman was intoxicated, according to a document from the Supreme Court of Ohio.

"Opposing counsel in one of (the) respondent's cases came to the same conclusion after trying to discuss the case with him. The lawyer reported his suspicions to the magistrate and the magistrate confirmed the lawyer's impressions with the deputy sheriff," the document states.

During the 2007 incident, Judge John Ridge and a prosecutor "detected the odor of alcohol" on Wineman, according to the court record. Wineman said both Huron County Magistrate Danita Conway and Ridge told him "you can't come to court like this."

"You've got to do something about this," he said they told him, recalling the conversations.

And he has been doing something: He usually goes to three or four Alcoholics Anonymous (AA) meetings each week something he started before the court ordered him to do so. In 2008, Wineman drove to Tiffin for the intensive outpatient program through Firelands Counseling & Recovery Services twice a week for three or four months.

"He's not appeared in court before when there's been any problems," Huron County Common Pleas Judge Jim Conway said.

Magistrate Danita Conway was handling cases in Ottawa County on Friday. Ridge declined to comment.

Former prosecutor, bartender

Wineman became an attorney in 1976 and served as an assistant county prosecutor until 1984. From 1980 until 1994, he was the Norwalk law director.

While working his way through law school, Wineman was in sales, was a Sylvania Optical manager and worked in the Lucas County Common Pleas Court work release program.

Ironically, he also was a bartender in Toledo for about two years.

The defense attorney was asked if he realized he was an alcoholic at the time.

"To be honest, I didn't know much about definitions about it," he said.

Wineman helped start the Toledo Celtics rugby team, in which he was a player-coach. While in his 40s, he continued playing the demanding sport in a now defunct Sandusky team when he worked for the Huron County prosecutor's office.

He recalled there was a lot of partying when he played rugby.

'I didn't learn enough'

In 1995, Wineman was found guilty of driving under the influence (DUI) after pleading no contest in Norwalk Municipal Court, which resulted in a six-month driver's license suspension. There was another DUI conviction n Marietta.

"I spent 20 days in jail in Marietta. That was a second offense," Wineman said.

"I didn't learn enough. ... You'd think after a second offense," he said, his voice trailing off. "That's how insidious the disease is."

Luckily, Wineman said he doesn't think his alcoholism got to the point it affected his mental functions in court. However, he said that's not something he can "completely answer" and admitted his addiction started affecting his work three or four years ago.

"It wasn't that I wasn't showing for hearings," Wineman said, but he turned to drinking as a release from both minor and major frustrations.

Wineman believes going to AA has been very helpful.

"It's readily available. It's out there," he said.

The recovering alcoholic intends to maintain his sober lifestyle. Addressing alcoholism is a daily struggle.

"You have to be more disciplined in the things you do," Wineman said.



Unfortunately Caary Asby should have done a little research into the disease of alcoholism before writing the article. It is unfortunate she titled the article as she did making this sound as a disease of choice. I learned in nursing school that a chemical imbalance within the brain triggers this disease. No more than a person with any other disease should their illness be used to broadside them in their profession. Perhaps we all could use a random act of kindness when blogging people in the Norwalk Reflector.

swiss family

oh... itsnotme.... to answer your question about if someone chooses to smoke, if lung cancer is a disease??? yes it is a real disease.... and if someone eats fat filled foods and gets heart disease.. yes , that too is a very real disease.. but then you get confused, and ask if someone drinks, is alcoholism a disease... that is not the same as the other examples that you used... if you smoke, and get lung cancer... THE SMOKING OF THE CIGARETTE IS NOT A DISEASE... NEITHER IS IT A DISEASE TO ACTUALLY EAT THE FATTY FOOD.. and likewise... the actual drinking of the alcohol is not a real disease..BUT the liver and kidney failure that they could be more prone to get ARE REAL DISEASES.. not the act of drinking it, or the act of smoking it or the act of eating it!!!!!

swiss family

relating to the debate if alcoholism is a disease or a character flaw... why is it that only people in privileged countries have the advantage of having these diseases??? why is it that over in Dar fur, and other impoverished countries and areas.. no one has the disease of alcoholism?? or restless leg syndrome??? or ADD, or ADHD?? could it be that this is something that we have created ourselves, and to make ourselves feel better about ourselves especially in this country where nothing is ever our fault.. it has to be a disease.. which conveniently takes all of the responsibility, and ownership of this away from ourselves, and makes it some fault way beyond our own control...
sorry, but I don't buy it.. to me alcoholism is something that weak people with little or no self control seem to be the only ones who catch this disease!!!


Once again contanker; you stated you were'nt from here. Since local customs are still respected by many here, I'll repeat - Anyone who admits their error(s) is wise. All make mistakes. To persist in doing wrong is just dumb. Look into the mirror contango.



Most Wanted

Comment was removed because of vulgarity.


LOL at Most ain't gonna happen, so to speak!!
Why don't U get onto your horse and ride outta Dodge?

(See-I bet you don't like that remark)





It's 1:11 in the morning and I just fell out of my chair, hit the floor and LMAO. Most Wanted, it's all your fault!!!!!!


teufelshunde wrote on May 13, 2009 7:46 PM:

‘Once again contanker; you stated you were'nt from here.’

Little man, I NEVER wrote that; you’re as dazed and confused as ever.

Mr. Wineman was caught and threatened with the loss of his livelihood, and for the present has changed his formerly self-destructive and potentially public dangerous behavior.

If that ranks as a sign of high moral character, then your values bar is set extremely low. No surprise there.

If he had killed or injured innocents while driving drunk, would you still be celebrating this loser?

I notice that the NR published my comments. Where were yours?


Swiss~did you ever think that there are people in impoverished countries that have restless leg syndrome, ADHA, OCD and are alcoholics, but they just don't have the resources or means to treat these diseases?

I hardly think that America has the corner on these say no one in an impoverished country is an alcoholic just shows your ignorance.


Most Wanted, I think I just peed my pants.

Thank you, you made my day!!



When people lose in court they have bad things to say about lawyers. I think that explains the negative posts on this one. Reese handled some legal stuff for me and did a good job, drinking or not.

Most Wanted

Sorry tea en sea, didn't mean to make you hit the floor! -LOL. And Sassy, you are welcome!


no one cares to hear about your incontinence, sassy.


Sunshine, I figure you'd enjoy golden showers.

Bill Z. Bob

From here on out I dub thee *it* Cruella De Vil.

Most Wanted

Var - you hit it right on the head, read the lyrics!

Cruella De Vil
Cruella De Vil
If she doesn't scare you
No evil thing will
To see her is to
Take a sudden chill
Cruella, Cruella De Vil

The curl of her lips
The ice in her stare
All innocent children
Had better beware
She's like a spider waiting
For the kill
Look out for Cruella De Vil

At first you think
Cruella is the devil
But after time has worn
Away the shock
You come to realize
You've seen her kind of eyes
Watching you from underneath
A rock!

This vampire bat
This inhuman beast
She ought to be locked up
And never released
The world was such
A wholesome place until
Cruella, Cruella De Vil




Cruell De Vil, Cruella De Mon
means the same
I be French vixen, with a tender heart.


Last time "contaker-us." Your previous posts stated that you weren't from this state. You also said other things about yourself. As far as the Reflector picking opinions, that is their right to pick who they want - duh. For Reese to admit his shortcomings shows that he wants to change. Yes I wouldn't like it if he injured anyone. My friend was killed by a drunk in 1973 before laws were harsher. As for you, that is all.


teufelshunde wrote on May 14, 2009 7:03 PM:

‘Last time "contaker-us." Your previous posts stated that you weren't from this state.’

Never stated that. You’re as delusional as ever little man.

So, if the article were about a neurosurgeon who was recovering from substance abuse, you’d be lining up for him to perform your much needed brain surgery?


teufelshunde wrote on May 14, 2009 7:03 PM:

‘As for you, that is all.’

Check the record loser, I didn’t start the personal trash talk – you did.

Go play with the other children.

swiss family

itsnotme.... you make a good point, there probably are people in those poverty stricken locations who have some of our " cosmetic" illnesses.. and can't seek the help that they need... but I am fortunate to know of, and have some very good friends and relatives who have spent a lot of time in these deprived areas, and in talking to all of them, they have all told me that over the past 7 years, on all of the travels that they have done, and with all of he people that they have helped medically, agriculturally, improving their family lives, and living conditions, they have never heard of anyone in these deprived areas with restless leg syndrome.. and only a hand full of people who were considered to be alcohol dependant.. and maybe one or two who are addicted to any illegal medicines...
so, I am not going to say that you are absolutely wrong, all I will say though is from the people that I know that do mission work, and medical assistance overseas, and work as "peace corp" type of positions, over a 7 year period... they are not seeing that at all...


Define: "cosmetic" illness ?


cosmetic illness= pretty sick

swiss family

LOLOL good one Polly!!!!!!LOLOL


meow, meow, meow :)


Hang in there Reese, I,d hire you again your a good guy and mean well. Best of luck to you.


I like his sharp shirt and tie.....good dresser!
Professional looking attorney.
Never had dealings with him, but with the "guts" he has displayed, I'd hire him in a flash for something
rather minor.
My guy is in Sandusky.