Misdemeanor Conviction From Johnstown Overturned

The Columbus Dispatch

A state appeals court has overturned the misdemeanor conviction of a Johnstown man, ruling that the Licking County Municipal Court mishandled the case.

William Ashbrook, 60, was indicted in March 2005 on felony charges of vandalism and resisting arrest and a misdemeanor charge of driving under the influence. The charges stemmed from a traffic stop by Johnstown police in February 2005.

The felony charges were dismissed in September of that year. The next March, however, Ashbrook again was charged in Johnstown Mayor's Court with misdemeanors related to the incident.

Those charges were transferred to Licking County Municipal Court despite Ashbrook's attempt to have them thrown out on grounds that they were not in the court's jurisdiction.

Ashbrook did not get a hearing or a chance to enter a plea until 192 days later. The state's 5th District Court of Appeals ruled Sept. 7 that Ashbrook's right to a speedy trial had been violated and dismissed all charges.

Ashbrook has a federal civil-rights case pending against both the Johnstown police department and the village administration.