Tuesday, April 11, 2006

Marc Dann and the Phillips case

Most of the Ohio newspapers have written about this, The Columbus Dispatch:

Phillips’ attorney, Randi Barnabee, said Dann’s law firm never should have taken the case because Dann and the judge in Phillips’ second importuning case informally discussed his sentence in the first case. Barnabee said it wasn’t enough for Dann to hand over the case to a colleague in his firm.

The Toledo Blade

"Unlike my opponent, I don't have to face allegations as he did last week that he advised a client to plead guilty to a nonexistent crime that had been struck down by the Ohio Supreme Court," said Mr. Chandra, referring a case filed against Mr. Dann's law firm for inadequate representation.

So if you know me you know what happened next. I got curious. I found a blog that mentions the original lawsuit that was filed in 2003. This was posted on Bill and Kent's place on November 24, 2003, it was stated as from an article from the Gay People's Chronicle that appears to be no longer an active story link when I searched for a direct link.

Yet, this blog raises some details that made me wonder. One as an example was discovering that Phillips cousin is Columbus criminal defense attorney Jeffrey Berndt. He obviously didn't know about the change in the law either since he didn't advise or do anything when his cousin was improperly convicted of the first charge or the second charge.

The link also gives some more detailed information as to both the first and the second charge that Phillips faced:

Phillips’ troubles began when he was charged December 16, 2002 with importuning after a 17-year-old co-worker complained that banter between him and Phillips had become too crude.

Not knowing the measure no longer existed, Phillips, then 20, appeared before Gysegem without a lawyer and pleaded no contest to the charge.

Gysegem gave him a 180-day suspended sentence, a $600 fine, and five years probation including sex offender courses--paid for by Phillips--and monitoring of his computer.

A second importuning case in April was affected by this one, and Phillips had to serve four months in jail. He was released August 14.

In the second case, Phillips was arrested at work following a report that he had solicited a 14-year-old boy on April 11.

This case has various twists and turns from what I've read, and while I can understand why Phillips would be rightfully upset/angry that he served four months in jail based on a prior conviction that was not legal, I don't see how Marc Dann is to blame. I have to assume that Chandra would know all of the facts in this case or at least have access to them so I really question his using this as a way to defeat Dann.

Unfortunately it's getting to the point where the longer this primary goes on the less I think of both Dann and Chandra as candidates.

(This article was written for the Carnival of Ohio Politics brought to you by Paul Miller of Northwest Ohio Net)