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Retherford says bill will prevent ‘re-victimizing’ of crime victims

Published: Wednesday, December 13, 2017 @ 11:32 AM
Updated: Wednesday, December 13, 2017 @ 4:47 PM


            Ohio Rep. Wes Retherford, R-Hamilton, introduced on Wednesday a bill that would prohibit the release of sexually oriented photos, videos and materials through a public records request. “In theory, you could be re-victimizing the victim again … That’s why it’s important,” Retherford said. STAFF FILE PHOTO
Ohio Rep. Wes Retherford, R-Hamilton, introduced on Wednesday a bill that would prohibit the release of sexually oriented photos, videos and materials through a public records request. “In theory, you could be re-victimizing the victim again … That’s why it’s important,” Retherford said. STAFF FILE PHOTO

Ohio Rep. Wes Retherford, R-Hamilton, has introduced a bill that would prevent photos, videos and images of a victim of a sexually oriented crime from being accessed via a public records request.

The bill, called the Victim’s Protection and Privacy Act, was prompted after a conversation Retherford said he had with a Hamilton police detective.

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Retherford, in an exclusive interview with the Journal-News, said this type of police evidence was protected through a court case — including the appeals process — until a December 2016 Ohio Supreme Court ruling.

In a split decision, the justices ruled in Caster vs. Columbus that these pieces of investigative evidence could be released once the initial court case was concluded.

Donald Caster, an attorney engaged by the Ohio Innocence Project, requested police records related to the 2007 murder conviction of Adam Saleh. The Columbus Division of Police rejected the request, indicating any records would be released at the completion of Saleh’s case, even though all appeals had been exhausted.

The majority of the Ohio Supreme Court justices determined Caster “had a clear legal right” to the requested records.

Hamilton Police Chief Craig Bucheit said the legislation is a “no-brainer” in protecting victims from having to re-live a traumatic experience. He said the detective reached out to Retherford after the department reviewed case law.

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“We take our role in protecting victims very seriously, and we want to make sure no victim is re-victimized by loopholes,” Bucheit said. “We’re all working here for the common good for the people, and we all see the problem. It’s a matter of recognizing a potential problem and the opportunity for someone to be re-victimized.”

Admitting the likelihood is low, Retherford said there would be nothing to prevent an accomplice or a perpetrator of a crime from filing a public records request to receive copies of “compromising or embarrassing photos and videos.”

“In theory, you could be re-victimizing the victim again,” said Retherford. “It’s still a possibility. That’s why it’s important.”

Dennis Hetzel, president and executive director of the Ohio News Media Association, said the legislation is “obviously is well-intentioned,” but said “it’s unnecessary and adds yet another exception to the ever-growing list of exemptions to our open records law.”

“Ohio already recognizes a constitutional right to privacy, and there are no examples to our knowledge of such images being released,” he said. “We also are concerned that the language lacks specificity and could lead to the withholding of additional public records.”

Retherford contends that “instead of being reactive to a scenario that could happen, let’s be proactive.”

Bucheit said they would fight any request for images or videos of a victim in a sexually compromising situation, but asked, “Why take that chance? Why fight it in court and hope you’re going to win as opposed to shutting down an absurd loophole in the law.”

Retherford said 66 legislators that have signed on to his bill, which is likely to get its first committee hearing after the first of the year.

Shooter who killed man during sex act to be sentenced

Published: Thursday, January 18, 2018 @ 4:15 PM

UPDATE @ 7:49 a.m. (Jan. 23):

Sentencing is scheduled Tuesday for the man convicted of killing a man while a teen performed a sex act on the victim.

Michael J. Wood Jr, 19, is set for sentencing at 9:30 a.m.

Wood killed Elroy Facey on Hoover Avenue in May 2017.

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INITIAL REPORT (Jan. 18):

The man accused of shooting a 41-year-old man, ultimately leading to his death, was convicted of murder and felonious assault.

Michael J. Wood Jr., 19, of Dayton, shot and killed Elroy Facey on Hoover Avenue on May 3, 2017, according to prosecutors.

“The victim attempted to run away, but the adult defendant chased the victim and shot him a second time,” the Montgomery County Prosecutor’s Office said in a prepared statement.

Elexus Dawkins, 17, was convicted of murder in October 2017 and was sentenced to 15 years to life in prison for her role in the shooting.

Wood and Dawkins planned to rob Facey, prosecutors said.

Dawkins was in a vehicle performing a sex act on Facey when Wood shot him, according to the prosecutor’s office.

Sentencing for Wood is scheduled for Jan. 23 at 9:30 a.m.

Rough winter brings potholes ‘worse than normal’ to Miami Valley

Published: Tuesday, January 23, 2018 @ 7:11 AM

Local officials say potholes are worse this year than the past two winters. A Dayton crew patches a pothole on Gettysburg Ave. MARSHALL GORBY
Local officials say potholes are worse this year than the past two winters. A Dayton crew patches a pothole on Gettysburg Ave. MARSHALL GORBY

The worst winter weather in recent years also has spawned the worst potholes on area roads in some time.

“Some counties are saying the potholes are worse this year,” said Ohio Department of Transportation public information officer Mandi Dillon in a statement.

Fred Stovall, director of Dayton public works, said there are more potholes than the past two winters. Those previous winters were milder and resulted in much fewer potholes, he said.

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“We’ve seen colder temperatures, freezing temperatures, snow and salt in the street. That all gets in the cracks and makes (conditions for potholes) worse,” Stovall said.

Potholes cost American drivers about $3 billion a year in vehicle repairs, or $15 billion over the last five years, a AAA study revealed, according to AAA spokeswoman Kara Hitchens.

The cost to repair a vehicle can vary because of tire size and the extent of the damage. Jason Brown, store manager at AAA Auto and Tire store in Huber Heights, said replacing a tire can cost anywhere from $80 to $250. And replacing an entire wheel can cost more than $200.

“Today alone, I’ve seen five people come in with damage from potholes,” Brown said. “They’re everywhere.”

Riverside City Manager Mark Carpenter said his city has also seen an increase in potholes this winter.

“The potholes are worse than normal, over the top this year,” he said.

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Potholes form when water soaks into the pavement, then freezes and expands as temperatures change, according to ODOT press secretary Matt Bruning.

Bruning said ODOT has spent $726,000 on patching potholes statewide so far this year, most of it in recent days. The vast majority of that number is labor costs.

“This season ODOT crews have spent 21,669 hours— the equivalent of two and a half years— just patching potholes,” Bruning said.

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ODOT already this year has used the second highest amount of salt that it has used in the past 10 years, Bruning said. This is usually an indication of how bad the winter is, Bruning said.

“Kudos to our men and women on the roads. They are definitely earning that money they make,” Bruning said of the ODOT crews patching potholes and clearing snow and ice this season.

Local crews are also working every day to patch potholes. Stovall said that the city has 48 hours or two business days, not including weekends, to patch potholes after they are reported.

“This is certainly filling our time. And we haven’t even gotten to the residential streets yet,” Riverside’s Carpenter said.

Carpenter said the city appreciates citizens calling and alerting the service department to potholes in the area.

Stovall agreed, urging Daytonians to call (937) 333-4800 or use Dayton’s smartphone app to report potholes.

Drivers can report potholes to ODOT via an online form or if the pothole needs immediate attention, by alerting the highway patrol.

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Bruning also stressed that ODOT crews prioritize potholes in high traffic areas, like interstate 75 over residential roads.

“Just like when we’re clearing snow and ice, we try and make sure the main roadways get taken care of first, and I think most folks understand that,” Bruning said.

Board to rule on Dayton police sergeant accused of lying

Published: Tuesday, January 23, 2018 @ 7:27 AM

A city of Dayton board that is reviewing the firing of a female police sergeant accused of lying and falsifying official documents is expected to release its decision soon.

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Dayton police Sgt. Tonina Lamanna challenged her termination with the Civil Service Board, claiming it was in retaliation for her filing a federal lawsuit alleging the city and police department engaged in sexual discrimination. 

Lamanna did not knowingly make false statements, said her attorney Vince Pop, but the city was desperate to fire her. 

Dayton police officials claim Lamanna lied multiple times, which they say is unacceptable from a sworn police officer and requires discharge. 

“Dishonesty is incompatible with public trust,” said Mark Ecton, a Dayton assistant police chief, at Lamanna’s civil service hearing. 

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Last month, the Civil Service Board heard testimony from a variety of witnesses from the police and human resources departments about the circumstances that preceded and resulted in Lamanna’s firing on Oct. 3.

Employers to recruit at Springfield job fair

Published: Tuesday, January 23, 2018 @ 8:05 AM


            FILE
FILE

Local employers like CareSource and Assurant will be recruiting in Springfield this Friday.

CareSource Life Services is holding a job fair 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. Friday at the Faith United Methodist Church at 102 W. High St.

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Life coaching, job readiness training and resume support will be available.

Some of the employers who will be there include:

Assurant

CareSource

Interim Healthcare

Mama Rosa’s

Ohio State Highway Patrol

RTA

Vocalink

I-Supply

The Greentree Group

Klosterman Bakery

Securitas