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At YSU, many expect an appeal while hoping city's image will improve



Published: Fri, April 12, 2002 @ 12:00 a.m.



By VALERIE BANNER

SPECIAL TO THE VINDICATOR

YOUNGSTOWN -- Shortly after the verdict arrived in U.S. Rep. James Traficant's trial, some students and leaders at Youngstown State University expressed surprise that Traficant was found guilty on all counts.

Yet most said they don't think the fight has left him and expect him to appeal.

& quot;A junkyard dog doesn't die just because there's a conviction, & quot; said Dr. Howard Mettee, a chemistry professor at YSU.

& quot;It's about time. I waited 30 years for this to happen, & quot; said Mettee, as he played tennis Monday evening. Mettee said he thinks Traficant will appeal.

Dr. David Sweet, YSU president, said he hopes the end of the Traficant trial will also end the negative publicity of the Youngstown area.

& quot;The sooner this issue can be completed, the better the future for the Valley and the image of the area, & quot; Sweet said.

Sweet said he expects Traficant to appeal, but he said he hopes, in the meantime, that area residents will elect positive leaders.

"The future of the Valley and the leadership of Youngstown are intertwined with the success of YSU," he said.

Dr. G.L. Mears, YSU executive vice president, was listening to the radio minutes after the verdict came in and said he was personally relieved to hear that Traficant had been convicted.

& quot;There's a God in heaven, & quot; said Mears, a resident of Austintown. & quot;As a personal opinion, the guy was guilty, and there was abundant proof that he was guilty. … We look pretty foolish for having elected him and then re-elected him. & quot;

What students said: But Drew Ridgley, 23, of New Waterford, an electrical engineering and technology major, said he would still vote for Traficant.

"I don't think he's doing a bad job, & quot; he said. "He's still doing what he's supposed to be doing. He's not doing anything anyone else isn't doing. He just got caught."

Christina Campana, 20, of Austintown agreed. She compared Traficant's corruption trial with the Bill Clinton/Monica Lewinsky scandal.

"Traficant was good. He did his duty," Campana, a junior, biology/pre-med major, said. "He's human; he makes mistakes. He just stands out more because he's a government-elected official."

Micah McCluer, 32, of Gustavus Township, expressed outrage at the guilty verdict while standing outside Moser Hall.

"They had no evidence against him. They had testimony. … Testimony is completely unreliable," said the junior mechanical engineering major. "We could all see the same thing and then five minutes later describe five different things."

Dr. C. Allen Pierce, a criminal justice professor, said he thought the prosecution handled its case well.

"Unlike the other case, where the prosecution didn't do a good job, they were prepared," said Pierce, referring to Traficant's previous trial in 1983. "When you've got evidence and someone is terribly guilty, it's pretty hard to create doubt."




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