West Side Police News & Notes
Appeals Court rules new trial for Prade not final order
DOWNTOWN AKRON — The 9th District Court of Appeals has determined that former Akron Police Capt. Douglas Prade’s new trial ordered by retired Summit County Common Pleas Court Judge Judy Hunter in January 2013 was not a final order, according to Summit County Prosecutor Sherri Bevan Walsh.
Parade was convicted in 1998 of killing his ex-wife, Margo Prade, and sentenced to life in prison. Prade was initially released from prison by Hunter in January 2013 based on new DNA analysis and other evidence. At the time of his release, Hunter included a stipulation that if an appeals court overturned her exoneration, then Prade should be granted a new trial.
The 9th District Court of Appeals, however, reversed Hunter’s decision, ruling the evidence was not conclusive and Hunter abused her discretion. Prade was ordered back into custody in July.
The case returns to Summit County Common Pleas Court Judge Christine Croce to either re-enter the order for a new trial as a “final order” that is not contingent upon other circumstances or deny Prade’s motion for a new trial, according to Walsh.
“Judge Hunter based her orders for exoneration and a new trial on evidence that the Court of Appeals has since called ‘wholly questionable’ and ‘meaningless,’” said Walsh. “Since the alleged new evidence has been shown to be nothing more than the product of contamination, there is no basis or new evidence for a new trial.”
The Summit County Prosecutor’s Office filed a brief with the court Aug. 15 asking that Prade’s motion for re-entry of the new trial order be denied. Because the order for a new trial was not a final order, the court is not required to re-enter the new trial order as a final order. However, it may instead reconsider the issue of whether there is new evidence worthy of a new trial, according to Walsh.
Croce has scheduled a hearing for Aug. 25 at 9 a.m.
Akron police, other agencies focused on impaired driving
AKRON — The Akron Police Department has joined forces with other local and state law enforcement agencies to take part in the Drive Sober or Get Pulled Over crackdown on impaired driving.
Enforcement for the effort began Aug. 15 and will last through Labor Day.
The enforcement efforts are paid for by funds passed through the Ohio Traffic Safety Office from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration to support the efforts of safety partners statewide and focus on traffic safety priority areas such as restraint use, impaired driving, motorcycle safety and youthful drivers.
APD officials offer drivers the following tips:
- If you plan to drink, designate a driver, someone who will not drink alcohol, before going out.
- Take mass transit, a taxi or ask a sober friend to drive you home.
- Spend the night where the activity is held.
- Report impaired drivers to law enforcement.
- Always buckle up, every ride, regardless of your seating position in the vehicle. It’s your best defense against an impaired driver.
- If you’re intoxicated and traveling on foot, the safest way to get home is to take a cab or have a sober friend or family member drive you to your doorstep.
Summit County OVI Task Force announces checkpoint results
GREEN — The Summit County OVI Task Force announced results of two sobriety checkpoints that took place in Green Aug. 15 at 3390 Massillon Road and on South Arlington Road at Liberty Green Drive.
According to Task Force officials, of the 606 vehicles that passed through the Massillon Road checkpoint in total, 21 were directed into the diversion area for further investigation or violations, two people were arrested for operating a vehicle under the influence of alcohol or drugs, with one declining to provide a breath sample and one registering a BAC of 0.168, four people were arrested for driving under suspension, one person was cited for operating a vehicle without a license and six vehicles were impounded.
Task Force officials also said of the 96 vehicles that passed through the South Arlington Road checkpoint in total, seven vehicles were directed into the diversion area for further investigation or violations, one person was arrested for operating a vehicle under the influence of alcohol or drugs and declined to provide a breath sample, three people were arrested for driving under suspension, one person was cited for operating a vehicle without a license, two people were cited for failure to use child safety restraints to secure children and two vehicles were impounded.
Richfield Police Department Lt. Joe Davis, public information officer for the Task Force, said a number of law enforcement agencies participate in the sobriety checkpoints working under the authority of the Summit County Sheriff’s Office, and agencies also set up what he called “saturation patrols” on adjoining and adjacent roadways to the checkpoints.
Davis said one of those agencies — the Ohio State Highway Patrol — stopped Jason Dodson, chief of staff for Summit County Executive Russ Pry, at 9:35 p.m. on one of those adjoining and adjacent routes for speeding and brought him to the sobriety checkpoint on Massillon Road. Dodson declined to take a breath test.
Davis said according to Ohio Revised Code, it is legal for anyone with two or fewer OVI convictions to decline a request for a breath test, but those who decline to cooperate are automatically given a one-year license suspension.
Dodson’s case is set for arraignment today, Aug. 21, at 9 a.m.
Pam Lifke and Maria Lindsay contributed to these reports.
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