May 28, 2016

Partly sunny

Joseph Allen to remain free despite missing Head Start hearing

ELYRIA — Joseph Allen didn’t appear for a scheduled court hearing in the controversial Head Start case because his attorney was never formally notified of the hearing.



K. Ronald Bailey, who represents Allen, sent a letter to Lorain County Common Pleas Judge James Burge and county Prosecutor Dennis Will apologizing for Allen’s absence.

Bailey wrote in the letter that while he was aware of the hearing, he never received notification and when he checked the online docket found no mention of the hearing. He said he discovered that the mailed notice was instead listed under a different case, which was dismissed about 16 years ago.

“Please understand that I did not mean this as an affront to court nor to the state,” Bailey wrote. “None of this is attributable to Mr. Allen and his absence is entirely my fault.”

Burge said he won’t order Allen’s arrest for missing today’s hearing.

Burge ruled earlier today that he would not order Nancy Smith, Allen’s co-defendant, back to prison because the Ohio Supreme Court has yet to rule on motions to reconsider filed by the judge and Jack Bradley, Smith’s attorney.

The Supreme Court last month ruled that Burge didn’t have the power to acquit Smith in the case. Although that decision didn’t address Burge’s decision to acquit Allen, it left in place an appeals court decision that said Burge wasn’t permitted to acquit Allen either.

Read Wednesday’s Chronicle for more on this story.

About Brad Dicken

Brad Dicken is the senior writer for the Chronicle-Telegram. He covers courts and county government, and has been with the Chronicle since 2001. He can be reached at 329-7147 or Follow him on Twitter.