Appeals court upholds jury decision

By Jim Painter - For the Sidney Daily News

LIMA – The decision reached in a jury trial heard in Shelby County Common Pleas Court has been upheld in an appeals court filing alleging two wrongdoing incidents. Both incidents were overruled in the Ohio Third District Court of Appeals here on April 20.

The appeal was filed by Toby Gilbert, currently an inmate at the Madison Correctional Institution in London, and involved his conviction on charges of intimidation of a witness in a criminal case, a third-degree felony, and trafficking in drugs, a fifth-degree felony.

Gilbert was claiming he did not make a specific threat against a witness prior to the trial and was denied his right to a speedy trial.

The case stemmed from an undercover drug buy involving a person known to Gilbert. Following an undercover purchase on May 22, 2018, Sidney Police arrested Gilbert charging him with trafficking in drugs.

According to online records of the Lima court, police do not reveal the name of their witnesses until one week prior to the trial. On April 2, 2019, the name was presented to the defense team. On April 3, Gilbert called the witness expressing threatening language, according to the court ruling.

On April 3, 2019, Gilbert was arrested for intimidating the witness. On April 25, 2019, Gilbert was indicted for intimidation and re-indicted for the drug charge. The one-day trial was held June 25.

On Aug. 22, Gilbert was sentenced to 36 months in prison for intimidating a witness and 11 months for trafficking in drug. Judge James Stevenson ordered the terms be served consecutively, or one after the other.

In the appeal filed Sept. 17, Gilbert claims he spoke with the witness, but made no specific threat to their safety. He also claimed he was denied a speedy trial when it was held on the 271st day after his original indictment instead of within the 270-day limit.

Appeals court officials ruled Gilbert did make comments by stating “The term ‘threat’ represents a range of statements or conduct intended to impart a feeling of apprehension in the victim, where of bodily harm, property destruction, or lawful harm, such as exposing the victim’s own misconduct.”

They continued by writing, ‘Intimidation’ by definition involves the creation of fear in a victim, and the very nature of a threat is the creation of fear of negative consequences for the purpose of influencing behavior.

The ruling states in conclusion, “The timing, tone, and content of Gilbert’s phone call indicate that his statements were threats.”

The speedy trial issue was affirmed due to the date Gilbert was re-indicted for the drug charge on April 25 and brought the case within the required window of time.

By Jim Painter

For the Sidney Daily News

The writer is a regular contributor to the Sidney Daily News.

The writer is a regular contributor to the Sidney Daily News.