Few minorities pursue Erie County offices

Her political signs aren't much different from the many others popping up on lawns all across Erie County in recent weeks.
Andy Ouriel
Oct 27, 2012


It's a classy blue font on a white background: "Elect Beverly Hancock Juvenile Court Judge, Endorsed Democrat."  

On a recent expedition down Marlboro Street in Sandusky, where she lives, Beverly Newell Hancock was quick to tout her values and explain what she'd bring to the table if elected juvenile court judge.

She wants to curb gang violence, for instance, and she'd like to limit the amount of time juveniles spend in jail prior to their conviction.

She faces incumbent juvenile court Judge Robert DeLamatre, a Republican, at the polls Nov. 6.

There's not much difference in Hancock's political signs and DeLamatre's signs.

In one noticeable respect, however, Hancock is quite different not just from DeLamatre, but all the other candidates running for a contested political office in Erie County this fall.

Hancock is the only black candidate in the bunch.

Nine other white hopefuls — incumbents and newcomers alike — are running for various offices, including two county commissioner seats, the treasurer's spot and the judge's spot.

The shortage of black candidates is disproportionate to Erie County's black population, U.S. Census data shows.

About 9 percent of Erie County residents are black. That's roughly 6,700 of the county's 77,000 people, according to U.S. Census data.

If using the Census data as a measuring stick, about 1 in 10 of Erie County's elected officials should be black. The reality is only one of the county's 15 elected officials is black: clerk of courts Luvada Wilson.  

Voters never elected Wilson to her post. A judge appointed her to serve a 15-month term after her predecessor, Barb Johnson, died. Johnson was also black.  

Wilson is running unopposed Nov. 6, which guarantees at least one black person will serve in an Erie County office after Election Day.

The shortage of black political candidates is no surprise to Joel Lieske, a Cleveland State University political science professor.

"People tend to favor those who are most like themselves," Lieske said. "If a district contained a majority of non-white voters, white candidates would be disadvantaged."

Hancock said she realizes few blacks run for office in Erie County, but the notion hardly bothers her.

"I don't get up in the morning and say, 'I wish some black people were running so I could vote for them,'" she said. "But I would love to see more diversity in publicly elected offices."

She assumed, like many others, the election of U.S. President Barack Obama four years ago would inspire more blacks to run for public office.

While that hasn't happened in any major way, the country's minority population continues to make achievements elsewhere.

"We were always told as kids, 'You can be president of the United States,'" Hancock said. "A lot of black children may not have believed that — until Barack Obama came along. And now they believe."

Regardless of the outcome on Nov. 6, Hancock hopes to set an example for black residents in Erie County.

"Maybe I can inspire young girls and young boys to pursue their dreams, whether it's an attorney, for office or whatever dream they have," she said.

Total population                  Black population (percent)
Erie County  77,000              8.7
Ohio             11.5 million       12.4
U.S.              311 million        13.1
Source: U.S. Census




Oh so very hard to keep my mouth shut on this one. I'm humming....

Swamp Fox

It should not be the race of the candidate it should their qualifications, something Hancock lacks.

Swamp Fox

Question, what is the black employee percentage of the Sandusky Register?
Why is this important, why is the race of a candidate important?


I couldn't agree more with Swamp Fox. Why does race matter? Shouldn't we hope that QUALIFIED candidates run? And shouldn't we vote for whomever we believe to be MOST qualified? To vote for or against ANYbody because of their skin color is about as racist and discriminatory as you can get. And yet the people most inclined to promote "quotas" and the like are those who would be the first to jump up and down and cry "racism" should the thrust go the other direction.

I have never voted based on skin color. I have never voted based on gender or religion. Heck, I don't even vote based on political PARTY much of the time! I would like to believe that most people are just like me in that regard. I'm wrong, of course. If I were right, we'd ALWAYS elect the best qualified man or woman to office. And it's painfully clear that we often don't.

All of you who suggest that anyone run for office or cast votes based on anything but a desire and an ability to perform the job are the problem, not the solution.


If U don't want to be rasist U will vote for Hancock got it.…

Taxed Enough Already

This race is about qualifications. Watch the debate that this newspaper put on, it was a joke. DeLematre buried her with his expertise and knowledge. I almost felt sorry for Hancock.

Professor Playdoh's picture
Professor Playdoh

Hey Andy...Do they pay you for your insightful reporting, or is this a hobby?


Good job register way to get a race story going just before the prez election. I swear they do this so i tell people about the registers story . SO BAD REPORTING. WE HAVE A BLACK PREZ..DID YOU NOTICE

2cents's picture

Obama did it, LOL one year!

(He worked for a year as a financial analyst)



I have an idea...Let's curb juvenile gang violence by shortening juvenile time in jail before conviction!!!

Phil Packer

Are smart, qualified, and diligent people considered a "minority"?


Yes. And they are RELENTLESSLY discriminated against, too!


Nobody is keeping black candidates from running so what is the point of this story?


It just always comes down to this, doesn't it? Unfortunately this card just has to be played! Why?


Press 1 for English, Press 2 for ??????

indolent indiff...

she is just not qualified for this position


It's race baiting by the Sandusky Register. Of course, Rufus Sanders does the same thing. Why should I expect anything different.

Phil Packer

Choose not to feed on the chum.


Re:"Heck, I don't even vote based on political PARTY much of the time".

You post republican 100% of the time.....



Nope, 'fraid not. Of course, you may not read every story on which I've ever commented, either. And since I AM fiscally conservative, you may assume "Republican" all you like. I'd note, though, that a whole lot of Republicans these days are just as addicted to pork as their more liberal colleagues.

The truth is that, while I'm all for fiscal conservatism, I tend to be pretty liberal socially. In other words, I'm more libertarian than anything else (and I use the small letter "L" for "libertarian" because, since I do favor a strong national defense, I don't adhere to the official Libertarian platform much, either).

I once knew a guy who referred to Democrats as "safety nazis" and Republicans as "salvation nazis." There are times I think he was pretty close to the mark! Me? My bottom line is that you should do whatever you want as long as you don't infringe on the rights of others. It's the rampant infringement, most particularly on the part of the government in recent years, that gets me every time!

I'm sure you don't feel a WHOLE lot better, but at least now you know more about WHY you don't, LOL!


Case of woman accused of bilking elderly aunt gets heated

Published: Friday, May 21, 2004


Yesterday, attorneys spent more than four hours questioning potential jurors before selecting six women and six men to hear the criminal trial of Krista Harris, 30, who faces multiple counts of theft and receiving stolen property for allegedly taking more than $86,000 from her relative.

Proceedings grew contentious when potential jurors were out of the room as Harris confronted visiting Judge James D. Sweeney and special Prosecutors Matt Razavi and James R. Bennett II, who are assistant prosecutors for Medina County.

Before jury selection, Sweeney denied a motion to dismiss the charges. Attorney Beverly Newell said the motion was based on double jeopardy, because Harris was previously tried on the charges and her convictions were overturned by the 6th District Court of Appeals.

Bennett argued against the motion, but Harris accused Bennett of lying about the charges listed in an amended indictment.

''Please, please, please, let's make some groundwork,'' Sweeney said as Harris began speaking.

''I want to object,'' Harris said.

''If you persist in this, I'm going to revoke your bond,'' Sweeney said to Harris. ''Think about that.''

''Do what you want to do,'' Harris replied.

Sweeney also denied Harris' motion to disqualify Newell and to recuse himself from the case. Newell should be dismissed because she was not registered with the Ohio Supreme Court at the time of her appointment, Harris argued.

''That's why you deliberately appointed her to this case, to try and railroad me again,'' Harris said to Sweeney.

After the jury selection, Harris argued that her attorney was Leonard Yelsky, who represented her during her appeal.

''Leonard Yelsky is my attorney. I have not fired him,'' Harris said, adding that the court refused to summon Yelsky to the trial.

However, Sweeney said he allowed Yelsky to withdraw as Harris' counsel in the case. Yelsky said he ''simply had enough'' of Harris and her treatment of his son and daughter, who also work as lawyers, according to court records filed in the case.

The judge told Harris that Newell ''will remain with you, and there's no uncertainty about that.''

''One of the eternal verities is that Leonard Yelsky will not represent you in this case,'' Sweeney said to Harris.

The trial is scheduled to resume Monday morning in Erie County Common Pleas Court. In questioning jurors, the attorneys and judge said they expect the trial to last at least a few days next week.

In April 2002, Harris was convicted of one count of receiving stolen property, one count of attempted theft from an elderly person and eight counts of theft from an elderly person, according to court records.

The charges stemmed from a series of money transfers from bank accounts of Harris' aunt to Harris' accounts in Sandusky from August to October 2000, according to court records.

In September 2003, the 6th District Court of Appeals overturned Harris' conviction and remanded the case back to the Common Pleas Court, according to the appeals ruling.

The appeals court overturned the original verdict, saying Harris did not get a fair trial because the trial Judge Lawrence Grey did not fully explain to her the ramifications of firing her attorney on the first day of trial.


Moderators have removed this comment because it contained Lengthy excerpts from other websites.

Julie R.

Is Beverly Newell also known as Beverly Newell Hancock?


Is this case the one that Baxter got into?

Julie R.

wiredmama222: Yes, that's the one about the black lady who was making allegations about Baxter. The allegations pertained to when Krista Harris was only 19 years old.

According to what I read about it, after Harris made those allegations she was accused of stealing from her elderly aunt, yet the aunt's doctor, Susan Gallagher, testified that the aunt (who by then was suffering from dementia) was NOT suffering from dementia years back when she had the Power of Attorney prepared. In other words, the Power of Attorney Harris used at Citizens Bank was LEGAL. The articles also say that the probate court judge Beverly McGookey ordered Harris to return the $86,000.00 to her elderly aunt's bank account and she did with the exception of $40,000.00 ---- and that's what the jokes in Erie County and their joke retired rent-a-judge sent her to a harsh five-year prison sentence for (with no early release) --- $40 grand. Yet now compare that to the thief in Jo Dee Fantozz's office who stole almost $150,000.00 of taxpayer monies. All Tygh Tone gave her was 3 years and she only had to serve a year of it.

How nobody can see what's going on in corrupt Erie County is beyond me.


I thought so. I remembered the name. YEEEPPP. I remembered the two sherriffs who filed charges against Baxter. They claimed he did something wrong in this case but Baxter was cleared of the charges by the court....visting judge Binette? right?


Why would Attorney Beverly Newell Hancock fail to register with the Ohio Supreme Court?


Why wasn't Beverly Newell Hancock prosecuted for the felonies that she committed while she was representing Krista Harris?


When they print the Black population stats , are they including bi-racial people or not?


I don't think they include those, then again, there's never a straight answer without someone pulling the racist card.

Personally, I think they need to , if a person is mixed how can they be considered all black or all white and it's stupid to put one or the other.


"she'd like to limit the amount of time juveniles spend in jail prior to their conviction."
ok so if John Doe is caught breaking and entering, she wants to keep him OUT of juvie so he can continue? Makes perfect sense. I sure hope she plans on throwing an ankle monitor on him and giving him house arrest until they are convicted


Let me explain it to you all: Minorities are "just not that into your politics" The end!



Are you talking the President Obama's politics ?


Oh sprinkles......don't start!


Just curious what is the percentage of black population in Sandusky?


Still keeping quiet...


Guess what race votes as a herd; 80 plus percent for one candidate?


In the debate, Hancock stated that she didn't know anything about juveniles but would have to hire someone to advise her on that. Translation: If you elect me, I'm going to have to hire someone to tell me how to do this job.

Really? Does the register want to legitimize this person as a candidate? Why not focus on Luvada Wilson who, from everything I've been hearing, has done an exemplary job after being appointed to the position we now have to vote her into. Hell, I have issues with D. Cole, but I have to give her props for standing up for the misdeeds she saw in the search for a new police chief.

Let's at least talk about qualified black candidates if we have to bring up the "race card" at all. I'm sure they are out there. Why aren't they running? Why didn't the Register seek them out?


Moderators have removed this comment because it contained Remarks that discriminate based on age, race, religion, disability, etc..


This will not turn out well. Take it down, SR.

Julie R.

Seems to me there was a woman attorney with the name of Hancock involved in the following but I'll have to look it up in my records to be sure.

It pertained to a fraud Preliminary Judicial Report that the joke Erie County courts used when they forced my deceased mother and stepfather's property -- property that they owned scot-free and clear of a mortgage for almost 40 years --- to be sold at a scam sheriff sale with serious defects in the title caused by the fraudulent transfer of my mother's half seven months before her death. The fraud Preliminary Judicial Report ~ prepared by a Cleveland title company ~ falsely stated there were no defects in the title. I then found out that a Sandusky abstract title company was involved in it. I found this out through an employee who obviously didn't know what she was giving away when she told me they did a title search prior to that (scam) sheriff sale and proceeded to tell me about all the fraud they found. It wasn't until I asked for a copy of it and she asked her manager that things got hairy. I could hear her manager going nuts in the background yelling at her --- she then came back to the phone and told me I could not have a copy. When I tried to serve a subpoena on them they actually locked their office door. After I tricked them into signing for the subpoena by sending it through the mail, they rushed out and hired an attorney, who requested Roger Binette quash the subpoena --- and of course Binette did.

If this is the same attorney, I sure won't be voting for HER --- but then after reading what West posted I had no intention of doing that, anyway.


When you point out you are avoiding someone's color because they HAVE color it is the same thing as being a racist in my book. I can't help but wonder why in the world the SR did this piece. To make matter's worse, this lady said something during the interview that made me really wonder if she knows what's going on? She wants kids to spend less time in jail prior to their convictions but I don't know how that is even possible?

Does she know what she is doing as a judge? I would have thought the reporter would have corrected the statement or asked her to clarify it before they printed that, but apparently the person did not. If I were she, I would be very upset upon reading that.

It seems she isn't ready for the bench, based just on that one statement. I don't think I could safely vote for her after reading that one little slip only because it seems to be such a large mistake, that I wonder why it wasn't caught. Most interviews are read before being printed. I think she would have caught that.

What a shame. Maybe with some time, but not right now.


Wow..I can see by all the positive comments that there is no Black/White problem there in my old hometown..Confirmation like that will surely keep me from ever wanting to return back. Hell I'll just stay south where the Rednecks and Haters walk around in the open and not hiding behind a laptop...Shame..because if I had to judge it by what i've read..there really are some wonderful people still left there..


This article has been taken totally out of context by some of you. There is no reason We as Americans can't have a conversation about race in politics. The article is not blaming anyone or trying to incite anything racist. It's just an article! Relax people, don't panic!
Digi... is right.....I prefer the out in the open racist.......it's better to know!


So are you admitting your a racist? Stand up and admit it. Be the first!


You know why racists are evil? Because they actually think something like skin color makes a difference. Think about that for a minute, and when you do, you'll realize something ELSE: That there are supposed "do-gooders" out there who are just as racist, just as damaging, and just as wrong as the most out-of-the-closet "redneck" hater is.

In this particular political race (no pun intended), voters need to determine whether they believe that Ms. Hancock is qualified or not, and then whether or not she's the MOST qualified candidate or not. What does the fact she's black have to do with it? No more, I don't think, than the fact she's a woman. So far, nobody's demonizing her opponent because he's white and a man, but it appears there are some who might try to ELEVATE her because she's not. Again, is she qualified? Is she the MOST qualified? There. Depending on your answer, you've got your vote. Simple, eh? Or at least it ought to be...

Martin Luther King, Jr. was right when he hoped for a day when his children might be judged by the content of their character rather than the color of their skin. For true equality to emerge, that must hold true from BOTH ends of the debate spectrum.

Julie R.

Who really cares what color a person's skin is. The FEDS got two judges in Cuyahoga County for fixing cases. One was a white female judge and one was a black male judge. Russo also testified there were at least 8 or 10 other judges that did the same thing but haven't heard a word about it since.

As an afterthought, you can bet those eight or ten other judges were WHITE.

Julie R.

I'm still waiting to hear the answer to this question:

In the majority of Ohio's 88 counties, the Juvenile Court judge also serves as the Probate Court judge, yet in Erie County the Probate Court judge also serves as a Common Pleas Court judge. So how can that be when a Common Pleas Court judge is an elected position? Also, according to one of the commenters, Tone and Binette are handling probate cases, yet according to the law the only time a Common Pleas Court judge can do anything pertaining to probate is if the Probate Court judge is unavoidably absent.

Somebody posted once that an attorney told him ---"There's the law....and then there's the law in Eeerie County."

He sure got that right! (but I already knew that from personal experience)

Swamp Fox

Julie R not understanding the legal system, what else is new.

Hopefully even Julie R can understand, in Erie County we know longer have a separate Probate Court. its duties were dispersed within the General Division of Common Pleas when the fourth judge was added as allowed by state law...

Julie R.

Really? This was allowed by state law? So could you please direct me to the number of this state law?


MLK was a hypocrit, he cheated on his wife with white hookers. And never went by his real name.

Swamp Fox

The 125th Session of the Ohio General Assembly House Bill#86 amended numerous sections of the ORC in the following manner to create the 4th judge in Erie County Common Pleas. When a judge is added by the Ohio House and Senate the bill that adds the judge can realign the court, and the courts responsibility can be changed. In the case of the Erie County 4th judge, the duties of domestic relations were removed from the Juvenile Court which had been a family court, with domestic relations moved to general division and the probate court duties also removed to general division with the docket split between the three general division judges. Each general division judge now can be assigned; criminal, civil, domestic relations and probate cases. The 4th judge is solely a juvenile judge due to the unique nature of juvenile law.

Julie R.

So you're trying to say that the 125th Ohio General Assembly House Bill #86 actually amended numerous sections of the Ohio Revised Code just so little Erie County could create a 4th judge in the Erie County Common Pleas Court? Give me a break. So what's the NUMBER for this "new" Ohio Revised Code that was amended specifically for Erie County?

...and besides, I thought the reason Erie County claimed they needed another judge i.e. Binette was to handle all the backlog of cases supposedly left by Judge Ann Maschari? If that were true, how does Binette and Tone have so much time to handle probate cases?

Swamp Fox

Julie R I will attempt to keep it very simple so even you understand. The three general division judges now handle a docket that was previously handed by only two judges that includes all non juvenile matters, one judge is designated as the clerk of probate (Judge McGookey) but she also has concurrent general division authority. And yes all changes to the courts and additional judges are created by specific legislative action, in this case ;

(125th General Assembly)
(Amended Substitute House Bill Number 86)

To amend sections 2151.07, 2301.02, 2301.03, and 3501.38 and to enact sections 2101.023 and 2101.024 of the Revised Code to add one judge to the Erie County Court of Common Pleas, to reallocate jurisdictional responsibilities of current judges of the Erie County Court of Common Pleas, ( it also added an additional judge in Logan County Common Pleas)

Julie R.

It says it added on an additonal judge as a common pleas court judge in Erie County, but where does it say that the common pleas court judges can also serve as probate court judges? Even better, where does it say that a probate court judge can also serve as a common pleas court judge?

Swamp Fox

Julie R if you can read and comprehend, which I have my doubts here it is;

Sec. 2101.023. The judge of the court of common pleas of Erie county who is elected in 2008, and successors, is the successor to the judge of the probate division of that court whose term expires on February 8, 2009, shall be designated as a judge of the court of common pleas, general division, shall have all the powers relating to the general division of the court of common pleas of Erie county, shall be the clerk of the probate court, and shall exercise concurrent jurisdiction with the other judges of the general division of the court of common pleas of Erie county over matters that are within the jurisdiction of the probate division of that court under Chapter 2101., and other provisions, of the Revised Code and all matters that are within the jurisdiction of the general division of that court, as set forth in division (N)(2) of section 2301.03 of the Revised Code of Ohio

Julie R.

I can not only read, I can also comprehend the law --- which is something your joke Erie County courts sure don't do. Read the comment I made on Saturday October 27, 2010 at 9:25 P.M. about that scam court-ordered sheriff sale of my deceased mother and stepfather's property through a scam partition action and a fraud Preliminary Judicial Report .... and then read the following law:

O.R.C. 5309.61 Partition and sale confirmed only on report of examiner of titles.

"In any suit or proceeding in any of the courts of record in this state in which registered land may be partitioned or sold, or the title any part thereof, or to any interest in, or lien or charge upon such land may be transferred or affected by the orders or judgement of the court, no confirmation of such partition, sale, or transfer shall be made by the court, or decree settling of affecting title entered, until there is first filed in the case the report of an EXAMINER OF TITLES to whom the matter shall be referred by the court for that purpose, showing that all persons necessary to such suit, or proceeding have been made parties and properly brought before the court and that the proceeding and sale have in all respects been regular and pursuant to law and the orders of the court."

Swamp Fox

Sorry I confused Julie R with FACTS, won't engage in her fantasy world...

Swamp Fox

Sorry I confused Julie R with FACTS, won't engage in her fantasy world...

Julie R.

What FACTS? A common pleas court judge just like a probate court judge are ELECTED positions. In other words, the clowns at the Erie County courthouse could not "appoint" McGookey to be a common pleas court judge any more than they could "appoint" Tone and Binette to be probate court judges.

Julie R.

So were you confused over the LAW that I posted that pertained to that illegal court-ordered scam sheriff sale of my deceased mother and stepfather's property and the fraud preliminary judicial report that they used to do it?


Swamp Fox

Julie R you really are hopeless and it's pathetic that you can't understand the law. When Judge McGookey was last elected her position was.

"The judge of the court of common pleas of Erie county who is elected in 2008, and successors, is the successor to the judge of the probate division of that court whose term expires on February 8, 2009, shall be designated as a judge of the court of common pleas, general division, shall have all the powers relating to the general division of the court of common pleas of Erie County", the other judges did not appoint her the change in stature did, but that understanding must have escaped you do to lack of comprehension.

I don't expect you to understand facts and logic because in the end you always make it about your own fantasy issues and self absorbed obsession.....

Julie R.

Once again, in the majority of Ohio's 88 counties, the juvenile court judge also serves as the probate court judge. The law also says that the only time a common pleas court judge can handle anything in probate is only if the probate court judge is unavoidably absent. So how is little one-horse Erie County getting away with this crap? Sort of like the probate court sealing records in the estates of your prosecutor's parents. Call up any title company around and ask if they would ever give out title insurance if they're prohibited from searching matter of public records in probate.

Swamp Fox

My suggestion is to have someone read you section 2101.023 of the ORC very slowly maybe even drawing you pictures, but I caution you even then you will remain DISINHERITED... Once again this article is about minorities not holding public office and not about your fantasies...

Julie R.

I have 7 depositions that the Eeerie County courts and a bunch of snake attorneys tried to illegally conceal. The depositions all have the heading of the Erie County Probate Court with the name of a sitting Cuyahoga County judge named Carolyn Freidland. So considering that you're trying to say that the state of Ohio said Tone and Binette can also serve as probate court judges, did the state of Ohio also say a Cuyahoga County judge can serve as an Erie County probate court judge?

Julie R.

@Swamp Fox: I can read and understand the laws. It's really not that difficult. Take for example the law that your joke courts and their attorney buds had to follow prior to that scam illegal court-ordered sheriff sale of my deceased mother and stepfather's property that had serious defects in the title caused by the auditor Jude Hammond authorizing those sneaky attorneys and those two fraud power of attorneys from Huron to fraudulently transfer my mother's half seven months before her death so the morons could then defraud her 4th beneficiary on a new fraud TOD Deed.

The law they had to follow was O.R.C.5309.61 that says in any suit or proceeding in any of the courts of record in this state in which registered land may be partitioned or sold by the orders or judgement of the court, no confirmation of such partition, sale, or transfer shall be made by the court until there is first filed in the case a report of an examiner of titles, showing that all persons necessary to such suit or proceedings have been made parties and properly brought before the court and that the proceedings and sale have in all respects been regular and pursuant to the law.

Now take note that they got around that law by paying the Sandusky abstract title company that did the title search (i.e. the examiner of titles) to falsely state in the (fraud) preliminary judicial report that there were no defects in the title. It's why the title company -- after an employee gave it away all the fraud they found on the property -- had to rush out and get this attorney Beverly Newell Hancock so Binette could quash the subponea that requested a copy of the title search report they did prior to that scam illegal court-ordered sheriff sale.


Interestingly, we just recently received some relevant information regarding Attorney Beverly Newell. Based upon the following set of facts it appears as though Beverly Newell intentionally railroaded her former client, Krista Harris, so that she could ensure her family members were given sweeeeet deals by Kevin Baxter's office. Ms. Newell apparently was representing her nephew,Damon Newell in a criminal case where he was facing 40 plus years in prison. Needless to say, no special prosecutor was required, although, Damon Newell is the son of Sandusky Police Officer Lonnie Newell. Moreover, Damon Newell was given judicial release after he admitted to kidnapping and raping a woman.
Now, for those of you out there that have a problem with the truth I've provided you with a copy of court of appeals decision regarding this matter.

State of Ohio Court of Appeals No. E-08-067
Appellee Trial Court No. 2003-CR-494
Appellant Decided: July 31, 2009
* * * * *
Kevin J. Baxter, Erie County Prosecuting Attorney, and
Mary Ann Barylski, Assistant Prosecuting Attorney, for appellee.
Beverly Newell Hancock, for appellant.
* * * * *
{¶ 1} This is an appeal from a judgment of the Erie County Court of Common
Pleas. On December 17, 2004, appellant was sentenced to concurrent prison terms of
four years each on one count of sexual battery, in violation of R.C. 2907.03, a felony of
the third degree, and on one count of abduction, in violation of R.C. 2905.02, a felony of
the third degree. On November 7, 2006, the trial court granted appellant's motion for
judicial release and placed appellant on community control subject to certain conditions.
{¶ 2} On May 23, 2008, the trial court determined that appellant was in violation
of the court ordered community control. On August 28, 2008, the trial court revoked
appellant's community control sentence and reinstated the original sentence.
{¶ 3} On appeal, appellant sets forth the following sole assignment of error:
{¶ 6} Under Ohio law, it is well-settled that "[a]n appellate court reviews the trial
court's decision to revoke community control [under] an abuse-of-discretion standard."
State v. Toler, 154 Ohio App.3d 590, 2003-Ohio-5129, ¶ 5. "An abuse of discretion
indicates [that the court's] decision * * * is unreasonable arbitrary or unconscionable."
Id., citing Blakemore v. Blakemore (1983), 5 Ohio St.3d 217, 219.
{¶ 7} The following undisputed facts are relevant to this appeal. On
November 14, 2003, the grand jury issued an indictment against appellant on two counts
of kidnapping, in violation of R.C. 2905.01(A)(4), felonies of the first degree, and two
counts of rape, in violation of R.C. 2907.02(A)(2), felonies of the first degree.
{¶ 8} On August 4, 2004, pursuant to a voluntarily negotiated plea agreement,
appellant pled guilty to one amended count of abduction, in violation of R.C. 2905.02, a
felony of the third degree, and one amended count of sexual battery, in violation of R.C.
2907.03, a felony of the third degree. In exchange, the remaining two counts were
dismissed nolle prosequi.
{¶ 9} On December 17, 2004, the trial court sentenced appellant to concurrent
terms of incarceration of four years on each count. In addition, pursuant to R.C.
2950.09(B)(2), the trial court found appellant to be a sexually oriented offender.
{¶ 10} On December 17, 2004, in companion case No. 2004-CR-238, the trial
determined that appellant had been found guilty on one count of trafficking in cocaine, in
violation of R.C. 2925.03(A)(1) and (C)(4)(b), a felony of the fourth degree. The trial
court sentenced appellant to a prison term of 12 months, to be run concurrently with the
sentences imposed by the trial court in case No. 2003-CR-494.
{¶ 11} On January 31, 2005, appellant filed an appeal of the sentencing. On
June 3, 2005, this court consolidated, based on a finding of common questions of law and
fact, case Nos. 2003-CR-494 and 2004-CR-238. On April 21, 2006, this court affirmed
appellant's convictions, finding that the trial court had not abused its discretion in
sentencing appellant, pursuant to the relevant statutory sentencing provisions. State v.
Boyd, 6th Dist. Nos. E-05-007, E-05-008, 2006-Ohio-1990.
{¶ 12} On September 15, 2006, appellant filed a motion for judicial release. On
November 7, 2006, the trial court ordered that appellant be placed on community control,
subject to conditions, for a period of five years.
{¶ 13} On June 26, 2007, the trial court determined that appellant was in violation
of the terms and conditions of the community control. Specifically, as appellant himself
conceded, the violations consisted of failing to attend the mandatory sex offender
treatment program and appellant being charged with new offenses.
{¶ 14} On August 23, 2007, the trial court determined that these violations did not
necessitate termination of the community control. The trial court reinstated the same
terms and conditions that had been previously imposed upon appellant. In addition, the
trial court imposed a condition requiring that appellant successfully complete any
program, including after care, recommended by the counselors at Firelands Counseling
and Recovery Services ("Firelands").
{¶ 15} On May 23, 2008, the trial court again found appellant to be in violation of
the terms and conditions of the community control sentence. On August 28, 2008, the
trial court revoked appellant's community control sanction. As a result, in reinstating the
original sentence, the trial court sentenced appellant to a term of four years for abduction,
in violation of R.C. 2905.02, a felony of the third degree, and to a term of four years for
sexual battery, in violation of R.C. 2907.03, a felony of the third degree. In imposing this
sentence, the trial court ordered that the prison terms be served concurrently and credited
appellant for time served as of August 28, 2008. It is from this judgment that appellant
now appeals.
{¶ 16} In the sole assignment of error, appellant maintains that the trial court
imposed unreasonable community control requirements upon him. Appellant asserts that
his termination from the treatment program for failing to comply with the program's
mandatory requirements constituted an unreasonable discharge.
{¶ 17} Under Ohio law, pursuant to R.C. 2929.19(B)(5), when a sentencing court
imposes a community control sanction "[t]he court shall notify the offender that, if the
conditions of the sanction are violated, [or] if the offender commits a violation of any law
* * * the court * * * may impose a more restrictive sanction, or may impose a prison term
on the offender * * *." Furthermore, it is well-settled that when "determining whether a
condition of [community control] is related to the 'interests of doing justice, rehabilitating
the offender, and insuring his good behavior,' courts should consider whether the
condition (1) is reasonably related to rehabilitating the offender, (2) has some relationship
to the crime of which the offender was convicted, and (3) relates to conduct which is
criminal or reasonably related to future criminality * * *." State v. Jones (1990), 49 Ohio
St.3d 51, 53. Accordingly, the Supreme Court of Ohio has determined that this standard
"stands for the proposition that [community control] conditions must be reasonably
related to the statutory ends * * * and must not be overbroad." State v. Talty, 103 Ohio
St.3d 177, 2004-Ohio-4888, ¶ 16.
{¶ 18} Appellant argues that the requirements imposed by Firelands, of taking a
polygraph test and being truthful with the counselors concerning unprotected sex, should
be construed as unreasonable conditions of community control. However, appellant fails
to distinguish between the conditions of community control imposed by the court and the
requirements of the Firelands sex offender treatment program.
{¶ 19} This court has carefully reviewed the record. The record indicates that the
trial court properly considered the purposes of sentencing, pursuant to R.C. 2929.11, and
properly balanced the seriousness and recidivism factors, under R.C. 2929.12. Most
significantly, the record shows that the trial court explicitly conditioned appellant's
community control sentence on his compliance with the program recommended by the
Firelands' counselors. The record clearly demonstrates that appellant failed to comply
with the Firelands' requirements that appellant take a polygraph test and deal truthfully
with the counselors concerning unprotected sex.
{¶ 20} In light of the above stated legal principles, the record shows that the
community control conditions imposed by the trial court were reasonably related to
treatment of a sexually oriented offender. As a result, this court cannot say that the trial
court imposed conditions upon appellant unreasonably, arbitrarily, or unconscionably.
On the contrary, the trial court acted pursuant to clear legal authority and therefore did
not abuse its discretion in conditioning appellant's community control sentence on
appellant's completion of the Firelands' program. Appellant's sole assignment of error is
found not well-taken.
{¶ 21} On consideration whereof, the judgment of the Erie County Court of
Common Pleas is affirmed. Appellant is ordered to pay costs of this appeal pursuant to
App.R. 24.
A certified copy of this entry shall constitute the mandate pursuant to App.R. 27. See,
also, 6th Dist.Loc.App.R. 4.
Peter M. Handwork, J. _______________________________
Thomas J. Osowik, J.
John R. Willamowski, J. JUDGE
Judge John R. Willamowski, Third District Court of Appeals, sitting by assignment of the
Chief Justice of the Supreme Court of Ohio.
This decision is subject to further editing by the Supreme Court of
Ohio's Reporter of Decisions. Parties interested in viewing the final reported
version are advised to visit the Ohio Supreme Court's web site at:

Julie R.

West: If it's any consolation, I think just about everybody around knows that Krista Harris got railroaded and why. I for one say a prayer everyday that karma comes around full circle and gets every single one of the dirt-bags --- and I truly believe it will sooner or later.