April 16, 2014

Elyria
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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.

Allen

Allen

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.