ATHENS, Ohio – A local village is in hot water with a county prosecutor who has accused the village mayor's court of letting a confessed drug trafficker off with a misdemeanor in exchange for money.
Athens County Prosecutor David Warren said that the punishment for drug trafficking in the Village of Chauncey, if the village needs a new police cruiser, is just a little over $3,000, NBC 4's Patrick Preston reported.
"They said 'We'll just go ahead, let you plead guilty to a misdemeanor and take your $3,000 because we need a police cruiser'," Warren said.
The case Warren is referring to is that of Michael Post. Post agreed to pay $3,050 this summer when Chauncey's mayor's court charged him with only misdemeanor possession of drug paraphernalia despite a written admission that Warren said made for the best felony drug trafficking case he's ever seen.
"Chauncey is going to become a haven for drug dealers if that's all that's going to happen to them," Warren cautioned. "That's what I'm trying to prevent."
Now Warren is suing village officials as two state agencies investigate hundreds of mayor's court cases that were never reported to the state.
Residents in the tiny village said that if Warren is right, the mayor's court is in trouble.
State lawmakers are considering legislation that would eliminate mayor's courts in villages of less than 1,600 residents.
Warren said that if the legislation doesn't pass, the mayor's court still needs to be fixed or at least restricted from handling drug cases.
"You can't buy a cruiser by turning Lady Justice into a hooker," he said. "That's exactly what they were doing."
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