COLUMBUS – The Ohio Supreme Court has ruled they will not hear the appeal case filed by former Shelby County Sheriff Dean Kimpel. The decision is expected to end ongoing legal action between Kimpel and county officials regarding the 2012 civil rights case.
According to information on the court’s website, the decision was based on their Rules of Practice 7.08 (B)(4) with no further explanation.
The rule states: “In declining to accept an appeal the Supreme Court has determined that one or more of the following are applicable after review of the jurisdictional memoranda: (a) The appeal does not involve a substantial constitutional question and should be dismissed; (b) The appeal does not involve a question of great general or public interest; (c) The appeal does not involve a felony; (d) The appeal does involve a felony, but leave to appeal is not warranted.”
The case documents can be found at www.sconet.state.oh.us.
Kimpel was twice denied requests to change his guilty plea in the case through previous decisions reached in Shelby County Common Pleas Court and Third District Court of Appeals in Lima.
He was seeking the right to withdraw his plea claiming vital evidence was not disclosed by prosecutors at the time. The original case eventually led to Kimpel being ousted as sheriff.
On July 27, attorney Jeremy Tomb of Troy, representing Kimpel, filed a 36-page memorandum with the Supreme Court claiming reasons his client had been denied proper justice. Tomb’s focus was on the Garrity Rights law that protects public officials from incriminating themselves; and the Brady ruling that deals with the prosecution withholding information from the defendant.
On Aug. 27, Assistant Shelby County Prosecutor Aaron Lowe filed a memorandum claiming no court errors were committed and all proper steps were taken by investigators. He stated that two previous courts had “correctly decided these well-settled issues”.
Kimpel claims evidence withheld
The actions stemmed from Kimpel 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 of 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 filed against him in Auglaize County was dismissed, as part of a plea agreement.
On May 12, 2017, in Kimpel’s civil rights case, 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.
On July 27, 2017, retired visiting Judge James Brogan of Greene County ruled the state did not withhold vital information. On June 12, the decision rendered by a three-judge panel with the Third District Court of Appeals upheld the local court’s decision. The Lima appeals court records refer to the action of Kimpel originally accepting a plea agreement to lessen the charges he was facing at the time.
The writer is a regular contributor to the Sidney Daily News.