SIDNEY — The attorney for former Shelby County Sheriff Dean Kimpel filed an appeal Tuesday in hopes of reversing the court’s civil rights decision turning down Kimpel’s request to withdraw his guilty plea in an illegal computer use case from 2012. The outcome of the case in question eventually lead to his resignation as sheriff.
A 39-page document, filed in Third District Court of Appeals in Shelby County, details Kimpel’s argument on three noted points regarding a decision handed down in July.
The action stems from Kimpel’s attempting to prove the state withheld vital evidence that would have prevented his decision to plead guilty. In that case, he was accused of using the Ohio Law Enforcement Gateway computer to illegally look up individuals for personal purposes.
On April 13, 2012, Kimpel pleaded guilty to one count of unauthorized use of a computer through his then-attorney Michael Rumer, of Lima. The charge was unauthorized use of computer, cable or telecommunications property, a felony of the fifth-degree.
Later that year, he resigned as sheriff and was fined and sentenced to two years of community control for the offense. A charge of sexual battery against him in Auglaize County was dismissed as part of a plea agreement.
In a civil rights case in Shelby County Common Pleas Court, May 12, 2017, a daylong hearing focused on a vital piece of evidence used in a sexual battery investigation against him during the same time as the computer offense. Kimpel claimed the evidence was misused to coerce a guilty plea from him for the computer-use offense.
That day, Kimpel claimed he was denied due process when the evidence was withheld from him. He contended his sixth amendment rights were violated when investigators’ and prosecutors’ misconduct prevented him from bringing a civil lawsuit sooner.
Kimpel also claimed he was not given the same latitude as others. He claims to be the only person to be prosecuted in Ohio for the computer-use violation. The Violation of Equal Protection offense points out there was evidence that other people had used the computer system for similar purposes. He contends there was “prosecutorial discretion” and an “unequal application of the law” in being singled out for the computer offense.
On July 27, retired Judge James Brogan ruled that the state did not withhold vital information that Kimpel claimed would have prevented his plea and the outcome of the case.
In the court documents, Jeremy Tomb, of Troy, Kimpel’s attorney, contends Brogan ruled incorrectly. Tomb also questions the admissibility of Kimpel’s statements to investigators from Licking County; and claims the charges were without merit.
No court date has been set, according to online records of the Shelby County Clerk of Courts website.
A separate Kimpel lawsuit involving alleged civil rights violations remains on the docket with no recent activity. The case was filed against Shelby County commissioners and John and Jane Doe (1 through 10). The suit calls for an award of more than $25,000 plus legal fees.
The writer is a regular contributor to the Sidney Daily News.
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