Brown County Prosecutor Jessica A. Little says that a pre-trial hearing for the five indicted former and current Ohio Division of Wildlife officials is set for 1 p.m., March 12.
At this hearing, Little says, she hopes that progress can be made toward setting an actual trial date.
However, that goal may not be reached, at least not any time soon.
Little says that she’s aware that the defendants’ attorneys have filed what’s called “a motion to certify a conflict” with Ohio’s 12th District Court of Appeals.
The argument is that the recent decision by the 12th District Court favoring an argument by Little is in conflict with a similar one that the Ohio 6th District Court of Appeals ruled on in 2009.
“The state Supreme Court wants uniformity in the various appellate courts, but I disagree that there is a conflict,” Little said. “I don’t think it will go up on this certification of conflict but there is potential for it to go to what’s called a ‘discretionary appeal,’ and I wouldn’t be surprised if the Supreme Did accepted it since this is a matter of great public interest.”
Little said also that she’s not comfortable commenting on the Ohio Department of Natural Resources' decision last week to place the remaining three employed Wildlife Division employees on unpaid administrative leave and then the subsequent retirement Wednesday of one of them - law enforcement administrator James Lehman.
“Whatever is done should be done in the best interests of the taxpayers,” Little said.
- Jeffrey L. Frischkorn