Former clients of disbarred attorney get a win from Ohio Supreme Court

Published: Thursday, October 05, 2017 @ 12:04 PM
Updated: Thursday, October 05, 2017 @ 1:36 PM

            Stan Chesley, shown here in 2005, is accused by former clients of attempting to shield millions of dollars from a settlement in a lawsuit. The Ohio Supreme Court Thursday blocked a lower court from considering Chesley’s request to transfer assets from his previous law firm, saying he has engaged in an “ongoing campaign” to shelter assets. (AP Photo/David Kohl)
            DAVID KOHL
Stan Chesley, shown here in 2005, is accused by former clients of attempting to shield millions of dollars from a settlement in a lawsuit. The Ohio Supreme Court Thursday blocked a lower court from considering Chesley’s request to transfer assets from his previous law firm, saying he has engaged in an “ongoing campaign” to shelter assets. (AP Photo/David Kohl)(DAVID KOHL)

Former clients of disbarred attorney Stanley Chesley won a victory Thursday when the Ohio Supreme Court blocked a lower court from considering Chesley’s request to transfer assets from his former law firm.

The Ohio Supreme Court in a 4-3 ruling issued Thursday told Hamilton County Probate Court Judge Ralph Winkler to hold off, even though the lower court has the authority to act.

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Chesley, of Cincinnati, was the driving force in mega-lawsuits over the course of decades: the 1977 Beverly Hills Supper Club fire, the downing of Pan Am Flight 103 over Lockerbie, breast implant clients dispute with Dow Corning, sexual abuse victims complaints against the Catholic Church and a civil action involving the diet drug fen-phen.

Nineteen former clients of Chesley are owed millions of dollars that they never got in a class action lawsuit. They say Chesley and other attorneys have stolen millions of dollars from the settlement. The clients, part of the fen-phen case, sued Chesley in 2004.

The Ohio Supreme Court said Chesley is waging an “ongoing campaign” to shelter assets from those who have won settlements against him. In 2014, courts in Kentucky ruled that Chesley owed the clients $42 million.

Both Ohio and Kentucky disbarred Chesley for his conduct in the case.

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Last year, the Ohio Supreme Court issued a similar order against Hamilton County Common Pleas Court Judge Robert Ruehlman for presiding over another Chesley action aim to payment. “And the record in that case is replete with examples of abusive litigation tactics,” the court wrote.

Chesley is married to U.S. District Court Judge Susan Dlott.

Alleged cop-killer who ate own feces in court ruled incompetent, to undergo mental exam

Published: Monday, October 23, 2017 @ 1:57 PM

Alleged Police Killer Smears Himself With Feces In Court

A judge ruled that a man accused of gunning down a New Orleans police officer in 2015 is incompetent to stand trial after the defendant halted jury selection last week by smearing feces over his face and head, eating some of it as court personnel and spectators choked and gagged. 

Orleans Parish District Judge Karen Herman handed down the ruling on Thursday, the day after Travis Boys pulled the excrement from his suit pocket, where he apparently stashed it earlier in the day. NOLA.com said Herman ordered Boys to undergo a psychiatric evaluation so doctors could determine if his actions were due to mental illness or if they were his way of delaying the trial. 

“Erring on the side of caution, I’m declaring Mr. Boys incompetent,” Herman said. “I don’t want to have to do (a trial) twice.”

The Advocate in Baton Rouge reported that Boys will be sent to the state mental hospital in Jackson for evaluation. He will have another competency hearing on Nov. 30. 

Prosecutors in the case filed an appeal, which they lost over the weekend. Both the 4th Circuit Court of Appeal and the Louisiana Supreme Court declined to reverse the ruling.

Herman also declined to reconsider her decision on Monday, when prosecutors introduced a recorded phone call Boys made to his girlfriend Thursday night, NOLA.com reported. Boys made the call from another inmate’s account in what prosecutors say was an attempt to hide the call from investigators.

Prosecutor Inga Petrovich wrote in a motion that in the recording, Boys is “clearly aware of the circumstances going on in his case (and) makes reference to when he will be released, as well as the possible inability to call his girlfriend once he goes to the hospital.”

NOLA.com reported that Herman said Monday that state law requires that all proceedings be halted following an incompetency ruling, including new motions like the one brought to her Monday by the state. The judge did say, however, that the recording of the phone call would be sent to the doctors evaluating Boys’ mental status. 

Other recordings of Boys’ jailhouse phone calls will also be handed to the team working on his case.

“I’m accepting the jail tapes as authentic and providing them to the malingering team,” Herman said, according to the news site. 

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Orleans Parish District Attorney Leon Cannizzaro called Herman’s ruling “extremely disturbing” in a statement released last week following her decision. 

“I had hoped that this court was too intelligent to allow an accused cop-killer to hijack these proceedings, but I was incorrect,” Cannizzaro said in the statement, obtained by NOLA.com. “I fear that today’s decision will only encourage similarly situated defendants to engage in such misconduct in the future.”

Boys is charged with first-degree murder in the June 20, 2015, shooting death of Officer Daryle Holloway. The officer was transporting Boys to jail when Boys shot him inside his police SUV, the charges allege. 

Boys, who police say escaped custody and was at large for about 24 hours before being recaptured, faces life in prison if convicted. He has pleaded not guilty and not guilty by reason of insanity.

Boys’ defense team previously argued that he was not competent to stand trial, but Herman ruled against them last month in a hearing that lasted about six hours, NOLA.com reported. His lawyers cited his low IQ scores, a family history of schizophrenia and a 2014 incident in which he jumped from a second-floor window, breaking his ankle, as signs of his mental incompetency. 

Billy Sothern, one of Boys’ defense attorneys, again argued on Thursday that his client is not competent to aid in his own defense. In his argument, he recounted the disturbing details of Boys’ actions in front of potential jurors.

“He was between us, less than a foot away from each of us,” Sothern said, according to NOLA.com. “I began to smell something, turned to my right to see Mr. Boys smearing feces on his face and hair, and eating feces from his fingers.”

Herman at that point saw what Boys was doing and cleared the courtroom, Sothern said. Boys continued to eat excrement off his hand and, when his lawyers tried to talk to him, he appeared “unable to focus on (them) or even appear to listen,” the lawyer said. 

Sothern said that Boys later told doctors he was told about what he did in court, but that he did not remember doing it, NOLA.com reported.

Witnesses for the prosecution on Thursday tried to show that Boys’ actions were part of a calculated plan to avoid prosecution. Dr. Rafael Salcedo, one of the doctors who previously observed Boys and declared him competent to stand trial, testified that he “absolutely” believed the incident was orchestrated to delay the trial, NOLA.com said.

Sheriff’s Office attorney Blake Arcuri testified that the plastic bag from which Boys pulled the feces appeared to be a bag from the jail commissary. Surveillance footage from the jail appeared to show that Boys filled the bag before he was taken to court that day. 

NOLA.com reported that Petrovich argued that Boys smuggled the feces into court and waited to pull it out of his pocket when he believed it would result in his trial being delayed. 

Herman said in her ruling that the defendant’s actions and the subsequent media coverage had likely tainted a potential jury. 

The judge said Thursday that Boys, if found competent by the doctors assigned to assess him, may have forfeited his right to sit in the courtroom during his murder trial.

“What happened yesterday will not happen (then),” Herman said. 

Moraine police shooting: What we know now about deadly encounter

Published: Monday, October 23, 2017 @ 11:43 AM
Updated: Monday, October 23, 2017 @ 2:20 PM

Morraine Shooting Presser RECAP OF EVENTS

A 23-year-old Dayton man was killed Friday by Moraine police after an early morning standoff that began as officers were investigating a report of a suspicious vehicle on Pinnacle Park Drive.

Police said they shot Jamarco McShann after he pointed a loaded semi-automatic pistol at two officers and failed to heed their warnings. The Ohio Bureau of Criminal Investigation has taken over the case at the request of the Moraine Police Division.

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While the investigation is in its early stages, here’s what we know now:

-The man shot. McShann and some family members have either had criminal records or have been victims of crimes. He had been released from the Lebanon Correctional Institution on Aug. 2, 2016, after serving a three-year sentence stemming from three criminal cases.

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McShann’s brother, Jamal McShann, died in a shooting in October 2013 in Dayton. Another brother, Curtis McShann, was sentenced earlier this month to 60 years to life in prison in connection to the Oct. 25, 2016, shooting death of Brandon Lanier, 27, on Riverside Drive in Dayton.

-The officers. The two Moraine officers involved in the shooting were identified as John Howard, a 19-year veteran of the division, and Jerry Knight, who has worked for there for 19 months.

Both road patrol officers have been placed on administrative leave, which is protocol for such incidents. This news organization has requested copies of their personnel files.

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-The investigations. The state BCI will handle the criminal investigation and the city of Moraine will also conduct an internal-affairs investigation. BCI has said it is one of at least 17 officer-involved shootings that have been referred to the agency this year.

BCI officials said the probe will focus on whether there were any criminal violations during the incident. BCI will refer its findings to the Montgomery County Prosecutor’s Office. The city’s internal investigation will determine if the officers violated any division policies.

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Moraine cruisers are not equipped with cameras, and officers are not issued body cameras.

-McShann family’s response. McShann’s family said his “killing has presented more questions than answers,” according to a release it sent out. The family contacted the Rev. Jerome McCorry to represent it as a spokesman. McCorry founded of the Adams Project, a male re-entry program in Dayton.

“Unfortunately this nation has demonstrated a practice and pattern of shoot first ask questions later in too many of these cases!” McCorry stated in the release.

Brother could face death penalty in Warren County woman’s killing

Published: Monday, October 23, 2017 @ 12:55 PM

            Christopher Kirby
Christopher Kirby

The adoptive brother of a South Lebanon woman beaten to death on Sept. 15 at her home has been indicted on eight charges, including her murder, and could face the death penalty.

Christopher Kirby, 38, was indicted on charges of aggravated murder, aggravated robbery, murder, attempted murder, felonious assault, grand theft and tampering with evidence.

“The grand jury further found probable cause that two capital specifications were satisfied, specifically (1) Kirby committed the aggravated murder of Debra Power as part of a course of conduct involving the purposeful attempt to kill two persons, and (2) Kirby was the principal offender in the aggravated murder of Debra Power while committing the offense of aggravated robbery. Therefore, Kirby could face the death penalty if he is convicted on the aggravated murder count, and either of the two capital specifications,” according to a press release issued by Warren County Prosecutor David Fornshell.

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His wife, Jacqueline Kirby, 30, is charged with tampering with evidence, receiving stolen property and misuse of credit cards.

Deborah Power, 63, of South Lebanon was pronounced dead from head injuries Sept. 15 at her home in South Lebanon. Newcomer Funeral Home in Dayton is handling the arrangements.

Her husband, Ronnie Power, was also badly beaten in the attack, Warren County Prosecutor David Fornshell said in September.

Both of the Powers were beaten “in the head with a blunt force object,” Fornshell added.

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The Kirbys were living with the Powers. Christopher Kirby was Deborah Power’s adoptive brother, according to Fornshell.

The Kirbys are accused of beating the Powers during a robbery undertaken to steal property the Kirbys could use to buy heroin, according to Fornshell.

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The couple is suspected of using Ronnie Power’s truck to get to West Chester Hospital, where he was undergoing treatment for head injuries he allegedly received from them and forming the basis for the attempted murder charges.

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Power’s 1994 Dodge Ram was found in the parking lot of West Chester Hospital on Sept. 16, the day after the Kirbys are suspected of beating the Powers during the robbery at the house at 59 W. Broadway in South Lebanon.

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An 8-year-old boy reportedly called 911.

Deborah Power was found under a blanket on Sept. 15 and “cold to the touch with blood underneath” by sheriff’s deputies called to a home just before midnight, according to a search warrant.

They remained in the Warren County Jail, awaiting their arraignment in Warren County Common Pleas Court.

Son of man who died after jail stay sues Huber Heights police, county

Published: Monday, October 23, 2017 @ 11:47 AM

            Robert Linkous
Robert Linkous

The death of a Huber Heights man while in custody in 2015 has led his family to sue the Montgomery County jail, the county sheriff, Huber Heights police and others alleging that he did not get needed medical attention while in jail.

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In 2015, Robert Linkous, 49, died of heart failure after he was incarcerated for a day in the Montgomery County jail, according to the lawsuit, which claimed his wife called 911 because Linkous needed medical attention.

After a day in the jail, he was being transported from the jail to the Clark County Jail by Clark County deputies when they determined the inmate needed immediate medical attention and took him to a hospital, the lawsuit states.

Linkous told Clark County deputies that, “I am short of breath and can barely breathe” and “I am having chest pains,” according to a Clark County Sheriff’s Office memo obtained by this news organization after a request with that office for related records.

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A Clark County deputy wrote that Linkous had a large bruise on his face that Linkous told the deputy happened when he was attacked by another inmate. Linkous told deputies neither the bruise nor his other medical needs were met at the Montgomery County Jail, according to Clark County records.

Huber Heights police arrested Linkous Oct. 6 and took him to the Montgomery County jail. Police responded to a Huber Heights home because Linkous’ wife had called 911.

“Was dispatched to the above address in reference to a possible overdose,” said a one-paragraph incident report obtained from Huber Heights police. “Robert Linkous was found to be just intoxicated and lying in bed ignoring his sister.”

SPECIAL REPORT: Justice in the Jailhouse

Huber Heights police took him to the Montgomery County Jail to be held on two 10-year-old warrants out of Clark County and Michigan. The warrants for were failure to appear in court in Clark County and a probation violation in Michigan.

As Linkous was being taken to the jail, his wife called to alert jail staff that he was suffering from withdrawal of alcohol and heroin since Oct. 3, 2015 and was confused, according to the lawsuit.

Linkous “was suffering from alcohol and heroin withdrawal, a heart condition, high blood pressure, an elevated heart rate, and a confused mental state,” the lawsuit states. “Instead of providing medical care, they took Mr. Linkous into custody and arrested him. The Huber Heights police then told the ambulance to leave, the lawsuit states.

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“At the jail, the police did not inform the jailers of Mr. Linkous’ medical condition or his request to go to the hospital,” the lawsuit states.

“While in jail, Mr. Linkous was beaten by another inmate and given an ice pack, but no other medical treatment,” the lawsuit states. “Later that night Clark County deputies came to take Mr. Linkous into custody and transport him to their jail. It was obvious to these deputies that Mr. Linkous was in medical distress and they drove him to the hospital. He died a few hours later,” according to the complaint.

The suit, filed in U.S. District Court and brought by Linkous’ son, Jayme Laurent, names Huber Heights police officers Troy Diltz, Scott Short, Matthew Blair, Brian Carr, Montgomery County Sheriff Phil Plummer, the city of Huber Heights, the Montgomery County Board of Commissioners and various John Does as defendants.

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Montgomery County officials have not yet answered the complaint in court and the sheriff’s office has not responded to requests for comment.

Huber Heights police have not responded to messages seeking comment on the department and its officers. Plummer also has not responded to messages seeking comment.    Montgomery County spokeswoman Cathy Petersen said the county, including county commissioners, cannot comment on pending ligation.

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The suit is seeking compensatory and punitive damages and was filed by attorney Jennifer Branch.

This news organization also has requested several public records from the sheriff’s office.