Criminal Justice

Judge convicted of prostitution misdemeanors, but acquitted of felony charges

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A municipal judge in Bedford, Ohio, was convicted of misdemeanor counts of soliciting prostitution and falsification, but acquitted of most charges against him, including all felonies.

The verdict against Judge Harry Jacob III was announced Thursday in a Cuyahoga County Common Pleas case following a bench trial, reports WKYC. Jacob was convicted of three misdemeanor counts of soliciting prostitutes and two misdemeanor counts of falsification, according to the Plain Dealer and the WKYC article. The latter counts concerned Bedford Municipal Court journal entries in a 2012 domestic violence case.

But Jacob, whose age is given as 56 or 57, was acquitted on charges of tampering with records, obstructing justice, and one additional solicitation count. He is scheduled for sentencing on Oct. 15.

“I think the judge got it right,” attorney Kevin Spellacy, who represents Jacob, told the newspaper after the verdict. Testimony by government witnesses did not support prosecutors’ claims concerning his client’s conduct, Spellacy said.

Cuyahoga County Prosecutor Tim McGinty disagreed in a statement released on Thursday after the verdict, reports WKYC, and says his office plans to appeal. Jacob “disgraced his city and demeaned the judiciary of this state,” wrote McGinty. “He deserves a stay in jail – a very long one.”

A spokesman said the Ohio Supreme Court is reviewing Jacob’s conviction and he could potentially face an administrative judicial ethics case. However, it appears Jacob could return to the bench, because he was not convicted of a felony, the Plain Dealer reports. The court suspended Jacob with pay from his $114,000-a-year job in December, after he was charged with felonies.

Jacob had been accused, along with Kenneth Schuman, former law director and prosecutor for the city of Bedford, Ohio, of criminal conduct concerning an illegal brothel operated within the city. However, multiple brothel-related charges against both men were dropped, WEWS reported last month. Schuman was sentenced Wednesday to six months in a bribery case.

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