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OH - Acquitted of sex crimes, but still has to register?

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ELYRIA — It will take a court order to get Nancy Smith and Joseph Allen off the county’s sex offender registration list.

The pair was acquitted Wednesday of charges they had molested 4- and 5-year-old children on Smith’s Head Start bus route in the early 1990s.

Smith and Allen, who have long proclaimed their innocence, were convicted in 1994 and spent 14½ years in prison before being freed on bond by Lorain County Common Pleas Judge James Burge earlier this year so he could resentence them because of a flaw in their original sentencing entries.

But Burge said Wednesday that his review of the trial transcript and the evidence in the case led him to conclude that the convictions were unjustified.

Sheriff’s Capt. Rich Resendez said Thursday that his office can’t take Smith, 52, and Allen, 56, off the sex offender list until told to do so by Burge.

“We need to be notified by the court,” he said.

Burge confirmed Thursday that he has issued no such order. K. Ronald Bailey, Allen’s attorney, said he will likely need to ask Burge to issue the order.

“We probably have to send them something,” he said.

Allen was required to register as a sex offender when he was released on bond in April. Smith had not been required to do so when Burge freed her on bond in February. But after Allen registered, Smith did so as well.

The pair is also still listed in a state database of sex offenders.

Resendez said neighbors of Smith and Allen, both of whom were staying with relatives in Lorain, were notified in late April that Smith and Allen were living near them.

County Prosecutor Dennis Will, who did not return a call seeking comment Thursday, has said his office is reviewing Burge’s decision and will likely appeal. Will had agreed there was an error in the original entries that imposed five consecutive life prison terms on Allen and sent Smith to prison for 30 to 90 years.

But, Will argued, it was an error that should have been corrected with a new sentencing entry, not a full resentencing hearing. The 9th District Court of Appeals later dismissed Will’s appeal of that decision.

Bailey and Jack Bradley, Smith’s attorney, have said they don’t believe that even if prosecutors convince an appeals court that Burge made an error that his acquittal of Allen and Smith could be reversed.

Bailey said he also will likely seek some compensation for Allen from the state for the years his client, whom he has represented for free since 1997, spent behind bars.

Kim Kowalski, a spokeswoman for Ohio Attorney General Richard Cordray, said that anyone who believes they were locked up for a crime they didn’t commit would have to convince a judge to “determination of wrongful imprisonment” in a civil case.

If that happened, Kowalski said, the judge would determine how much money to award.

Added: Jun-26-2009 Occurred On: Jun-26-2009
By: SexOffenderIssues
Tags: sex, sexual, offender, issues, sex offender, sexual offender, acquitted, ohio, wtf,
Location: Elyria, Ohio, United States (load item map)
Views: 9230 | Comments: 2 | Votes: 1 | Favorites: 1 | Shared: 0 | Updates: 0 | Times used in channels: 1
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