Preliminary hearings are set for next week.
By DAVID SKOLNICK
VINDICATOR POLITICS WRITER
YOUNGSTOWN -- A judge rejected motions from the attorneys of two men facing election fraud charges to dismiss the cases for improper venue.
Instead, the cases, and a third from another man facing election fraud charges, will move ahead with preliminary hearings set for 1 p.m. July 11 in Mahoning County Court in Austintown.
The attorneys for T. Elliot Hough, a former Republican write-in candidate for a seat on the Ohio 7th District Court of Appeals, and Michael Prozy, an ex-Republican precinct committee candidate for a seat in Canfield, said county court did not have jurisdiction over the cases.
That is because if crimes occurred, they happened in Youngstown and that city's municipal court would have jurisdiction, the attorneys said.
But Judge David D'Apolito of county court denied the motions Monday and set preliminary hearings for next week. At those hearings, the prosecutor would have to prove that county court has jurisdiction over the cases, the judge said.
Hough faces two felony counts of election fraud and one felony count of election falsification. The sheriff's department said Hough registered to vote in a precinct in which he does not live and also listed false addresses for himself on documents to run for the court seat with the board of elections.
Hough lives in his car, according to the sheriff's department.
Prozy is charged with a felony count of election falsification and a misdemeanor count of election fraud. The sheriff's department said Prozy lives in Boardman, but he filed documents at the elections board to run for a precinct seat in Canfield.
Also, James A. Roman of Youngstown faces a felony count of election falsification and a misdemeanor count of election fraud. The sheriff's department says Roman filed to run for a Republican precinct committee seat in Austintown when he lives in Youngstown. Roman's attorney did not file a motion to dismiss the case for improper venue. Several election board officials -- including Director Michael Sciortino and board Chairman Mark Munroe -- are expected to be called as witnesses during next week's preliminary hearings.