Corpun file 18638
The Tribune Chronicle, Warren, Ohio, 27 November 2006
Paddling case overturned
By Christopher Bobby
WARREN — The 11th District Court of Appeals Monday overturned all but one of 18 convictions linked to a spanking program run by former Fowler police Chief
The appellate court ordered the case back to Trumbull County
Common Pleas Court so Martin can be re-sentenced on a single,
misdemeanor count of dereliction of duty. The sole misdemeanor
conviction dealt with Martin failing to turn in a traffic ticket
to court officials for a young offender who instead was referred
to the ex-chief's unauthorized diversion program in which
clients were spanked for infractions.
Martin already has performed the 120 hours of community service
ordered by Judge Andrew Logan on the original 18 convictions.
Martin also was sentenced then to two years' probation and
Defense attorney Dominic Vitantonio said he was pleased with the
"In a way, the system worked. But he's still left
hanging with the technical conviction on one count,"
Vitantonio said, contemplating a request for an official pardon
by the governor.
Seventeen charges were overturned in the decision drafted by
Appellate Judge Donald R. Ford. Another dereliction of duty
conviction based on Martin keeping records of the program in his
home was thrown out because the court said Martin wasn't
keeping records from the public since the program wasn't
Assistant Prosecutor LuWayne Annos, who handles appeals for the
Prosecutor's Office, said it's possible the case will
be appealed to the Ohio Supreme Court for a clarification on the
Martin's weeklong trial in February 2005 focused on corporal
punishment in which several teenage boys and young men agreed to
receive paddlings in order to avoid prosecution.
Jurors had deliberated about 17 hours before returning with the
verdicts. Martin, who also was a Howland police captain, was
found guilty on 12 counts of using a sham legal process, and the
jury was split on dereliction of duty charges, finding him guilty
on six counts and innocent on the other six.
The "sham" charges and five of six
dereliction charges were overturned after Vitantonio claimed the
charges weren't supported by sufficient evidence and Logan
should have dismissed them.
Martin was found innocent on 11 of 12 counts of assault, with the
jury hung on the remaining assault charge. He also was found
innocent of the only felony charge, theft in office, which
accused Martin of stealing Howland Township property in the form
of diversion program files from the 1970s and 1908s.
The judge had ignored a prosecutor's recommendation for even
the slightest amount of jail time.
The decision refers to a suspended six-month jail sentence that
Logan will have to deal with at a re-sentencing, which has not
yet been scheduled.
Originally Martin was indicted on 52 counts but assistant
prosecutor David Toepfer dropped 16 counts before trial.
Copyright © 2006 — The Tribune
See also: Still pictures from video of one of the police station spankings