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TRUMBULL COUNTY Prosecutor opposes expungement for Fiorenzo



Published: Wed, February 13, 2002 @ 12:00 a.m.



A hearing is scheduled for next month to determine if the former county engineer's record should be sealed.

By PEGGY SINKOVICH

VINDICATOR TRUMBULL STAFF

WARREN -- A special prosecutor says a former Trumbull County engineer convicted of several charges should not get his record expunged because the public has a "continuing need to know" about his convictions.

Kelli K. Norman, an assistant Portage County prosecutor who is acting as a special prosecutor in James Fiorenzo's case, filed a motion Tuesday in Trumbull County Common Pleas Court opposing expungement.

Fiorenzo filed a motion for expungement last month. A hearing on the motion is scheduled for March 7.

"The fact that the defendant in this case has six felony convictions arising out of his misconduct in office certainly in and of itself weighs in favor of the public's continuing need to know about these convictions," Norman stated in her countermotion.

She added that an expungement would make it difficult for the public to find out about the case if he would choose to move to "another part of the state to resume" his public career.

The case: Fiorenzo was convicted Nov. 8, 1994, of theft in office, complicity to theft in office and four counts of forgery for stealing county money through a remodeling project at his office.

He was found guilty of trying to get the county to pay for work not done and materials not delivered.

He was sentenced to three years in prison and was released in July 1997.

Expungements are sometimes granted to first-time offenders. An expungement would seal Fiorenzo's court records, and they would no longer be public.

'Pattern': Norman noted in the motion that she does not believe Fiorenzo is a "first offender" since he "engaged in a pattern of conduct that spanned months."

She stated that Fiorenzo arranged to have remodeling work done at the engineer's office, was involved in the overbilling to the county and forged at "least four separate documents to cover up his theft."

"These offenses were not part of one act, nor were they committed at the same time," Norman's motion states.

The sheriff's department began investigating Fiorenzo after county commissioners and Edward Bush, then county auditor, refused to pay bills submitted by three contractors for work done at Fiorenzo's office when he was county engineer.

The bills totaled $25,183. State law says projects should be competitively bid when they exceed $10,000.

sinkovich@vindy.com




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