Former professor Saunders pleads no contest

A former BGSU Firelands professor will be cleared of weapons charges as long as he stays out of trouble for the next two years.
Annie Zelm
Mar 13, 2011

A former BGSU Firelands professor will be cleared of weapons charges as long as he stays out of trouble for the next two years.

Patrick Saunders, 62, pleaded no contest to improperly handling a firearm in a motor vehicle, a fourth-degree felony, and a visiting judge granted him diversion.

The diversion program requires him to be supervised by the court system for up to two years, and he'll have to pay the accompanying fees.

Saunders still isn't permitted on the BGSU Firelands campus after he made jokes about gutting an associate dean -- a separate infraction that earned him two years of probation and a fine -- but he said he's ready to put both ordeals behind him.

"It's time to move on," he said in a phone interview Thursday. "It's been kind of a learning experience, to say the least."

His attorney, John Allton, said although it was clear Saunders was guilty of a misdemeanor weapons charge, he agreed to plead no contest to a felony so he could be considered for the diversion program.

A Huron County grand jury secretly indicted Saunders in October for carrying a concealed weapon and improperly handling a firearm after a deputy found a loaded handgun in a saddlebag on his motorcycle. The deputy stopped him because he saw a large knife on his back holster, and a police dog identified some medication he was carrying in the saddlebag.

Saunders had kept the gun in his locked saddlebag inadvertently, Allton said, but it was still illegal.

Deputies mistakenly hauled him off to jail in November instead of issuing him a summons because of an apparent clerical error.

The agreement forged between Allton and Sandusky County assistant prosecutor Beth Tischler, acting as a visiting prosecutor, nearly included a provision that would have barred Saunders from suing the sheriff's office, but Allton said he successfully fought to remove that stipulation.

Now that his legal proceedings on both ordeals are finished, Saunders said he needs to take some time away from court before deciding whether to file a lawsuit over the wrongful arrest.

His next hurdle: earning back the privilege to walk onto the Firelands campus.

The school has maintained a civil ban against Saunders since he made comments in front of two students about gutting associate dean Andrew Kurtz while gesturing with a knife.

Saunders said he plans to request a hearing with the school administration in hopes that he might eventually be permitted to return to the campus -- if not to teaching.

Several years ago, he established a scholarship fund to help all students, particularly nontraditional students and veterans like himself, pay for books.

As long as he's banned from the school, he'll have to mail the scholarship checks instead of presenting them in person.

It's a cruel irony for a man who taught there for years and considered the school his second home, Allton said.

Comments

Dick-Tracey.

SUE SUE SUE THATS ALL i HAVE TO SAY MAKE THEM PAY FOR THEIR MISTAKES

Patroit

This guy staying out of trouble, that's a oxymoron.   Sue for what he pled on the charge and his own lawyer stated he was guilty of at least the misdemeanor, " His attorney, John Allton, said although it was clear Saunders was guilty of a misdemeanor weapons charge, he agreed to plead no contest to a felony so he could be considered for the diversion program."  Why didn't he take the case to trial , a not guilty verdict would have made any civil action stronger.  If he sues it proves that a fool and his money is soon parted.  

Who called for a taxi?

outsider

 "It's time to move on"  Well move on with your life without BGSU Firelands. Oops, I want to move on but I want to do the same things I did in the past. Like make threats and carry a weapon? Was there any help for his anger management? Time bomb waiting to explode again.

Buff

:Patriot:  By entering a plea of no contest,  there was no admission of guilt that can be used against him in a civil action.  Further, if he completes the diversion program successfully, there will never be a finding of guilt that can be used against him in a civil action.  I have no personal knowledge of the case, but he made the right move.  He avoided the risk of a jury verdict of Guilty by not going to trial and entering into the plea agreement.

Patroit

buff I agree in most part but you have to admit a not guilty finding would have made any civil action stronger. His own lawyers comments can come back to haunt them.

KURTje

So buff you a  legal eagle?  Further - if so it almost always best to avoid the courts iyo?

ACES EIGHTS

This guy made the right move. If you have ever been on a jury and seen how easily the majority can be swayed you would think twice before putting yourself in thier hands.

Julie R.

Hey attorney Buff, considering how you know so much about the law, I'm kind of curious about something.......

If the Erie County courts work in collusion with a crook attorney to file and dismiss a bogus lawsuit in the jurisdiction of another county that has nothing to do with an Erie County Probate estate, who PAYS for the bogus lawsuit? I mean, it stands to reason the sneaky attorney isn't going to send a bill to the clients if the clients don't even know he filed a bogus lawsuit in the jurisdiction of another county to begin with, right? It also stands to reason if the sneaky attorney adds on the name of a non-client before he dismisses the bogus lawsuit, he for sure wouldn't be sending any bills to that person, either. 

So once again, who PAYS for these bogus lawsuits? After all, I'm sure the sitting judges in corrupt Cuyahoga County aren't going along with these Erie County Probate Court scams for nothing.