ELYRIA — Lorain County Common Pleas Judge James Burge this morning ordered Nancy Smith to remain free in the controversial Head Start child molestation case while the legal battle continues in the state’s highest court.
Burge and Smith’s attorney, Jack Bradley, on Monday asked the Ohio Supreme Court to reconsider its ruling ordering the judge to overturn his decision to acquit Smith.
Smith’s codefendant Joseph Allen was not in the courtroom.
While the Supreme Court didn’t address Burge’s decision to acquit Allen, a state appeals court has ruled the judge didn’t have the power to acquit him.
Assistant County Prosecutor Tony Cillo didn’t object to Smith’s continued freedom while the legal fight continues.
The courtroom was full of Smith’s family and supporters as well as extra county sheriff’s deputies on hand to provide a bulked up security presence.
Burge acquitted Smith and Allen in 2009 saying he believed they were wrongly convicted. The judge contends he could revisit the case because of a technicality in the original sentencing entries.
Prosecutors argue — and the Supreme Court agreed — that Burge exceeded his authority.
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