December 20, 2014

Elyria
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Judge Burge rejects request to remove himself from death row case

ELYRIA — Lorain County Common Pleas Judge James Burge rejected a request from Assistant County Prosecutor Tony Cillo this morning that the judge remove himself from the case of convicted killer Stanley Jalowiec.

Cillo said that Burge’s comments Tuesday to the Ohio Parole Board that he is being investigated by the Ohio Supreme Court’s Office of Disciplinary Counsel could create the appearance of impropriety.

Burge said Tuesday that Cillo told the Disciplinary Counsel that he didn’t agree to indefinitely delay sending Nancy Smith back to prison after the Supreme Court ruled Burge overstepped when he acquitted Smith in the controversial Head Start child molestation case in 2011.

Burge said Cillo and Jack Bradley, one of Smith’s lawyers, asked him not to do anything until he heard from them.

Smith, who remains free, is currently seeking clemency from Ohio Gov. John Kasich.

Disciplinary Counsel inquiries are considered confidential and Burge has declined to elaborate on the scope of the investigation beyond his public comments.

The judge said for the purposes of today’s hearing at least he would remain on the Jalowiec case. Jalowiec, who is on death row for the slaying of police informant Ronald Lally in the 1990s, is seeking a new trial based on what his lawyers contend is newly discovered evidence and police and prosecutorial misconduct.

Read Wednesday’s Chronicle for more on this story.