Baumgartner petitions high court

SANDUSKY Imprisoned ex-attorney Elsebeth Baumgartner is asking the U.S. Supreme Court to consider re
Sandusky Register Staff
May 24, 2010



Imprisoned ex-attorney Elsebeth Baumgartner is asking the U.S. Supreme Court to consider reviewing her case.

Dean Boland, Baumgartner's Lakewood-based attorney, said he filed a petition requesting the high court accept Baumgartner's case because it may have broader implications regarding First Amendment issues and other rights.

Baumgartner was sentenced in November 2006 to eight years in prison for sending threatening e-mails to retired Judge Richard Markus and a local couple, Bryan Dubois and his wife. Markus had been presiding over civil cases in Erie and Ottawa counties as a visiting judge, and Baumgartner was involved in some of those cases.

In August 2005 a Cuyahoga County grand jury indicted Baumgartner on multiple counts of intimidation, retaliation and falsification.

Dubois subsequently became the target of threats from Baumgartner for his role as a witness in that case. Baumgartner used a Web site to post lyrics from an Eminem song, directing the heated lyrics at Dubois and his wife.

In March 2006 the grand jury hit Baumgartner with a second round of multiple-count indictments. Baumgartner pleaded no contest to the charges in Cuyahoga County Common Pleas Court and was found guilty on multiple counts of intimidation and retaliation in connection with the threats against Markus and Dubois.

She was sentenced to a total of eight years in both cases, but she appealed the sentence to Ohio's Eighth District Court of Appeals. This February the appeals court upheld the lower court's ruling. Baumgartner then filed her own motion for the appeals court to reconsider, also accusing her three attorneys at the time of abandoning her.

Boland said he began representing Baumgartner about seven or eight months ago.

The U.S. Supreme Court only accepts about 1 percent of the cases sent to it, choosing cases that have a broad impact on society as a whole, he said.

"We feel that the way the Ohio statute is drafted and has been applied to her violates her federal First Amendment rights," Boland said. "We want them to consider her case."