The prosecutor is going to recommend that the defendant serve 60 days in an alternative sentencing program.
By PEGGY SINKOVICH
VINDICATOR TRUMBULL STAFF
WARREN -- A 47-year-old Youngstown man who was granted a mistrial last month when a prosecution witness was seen talking to a juror has pleaded guilty to a misdemeanor charge of driving under the influence.
David Flasck entered his plea Thursday during a brief hearing in the courtroom of Judge John Stuard. The judge said Flasck will be sentenced after a background check by the county adult probation department.
Ken Bailey, an assistant Trumbull County prosecutor, said he reduced Flasck's felony DUI charge to a misdemeanor charge in exchange for the plea. Flasck could have received up to 18 months in prison, if convicted of the felony charge, court officials said.
The maximum Flasck could receive now, Bailey said, is six months in jail and a $1,000 fine.
Bailey said he is going to recommend that Flasck serve 60 days in the Warren Alternative Sentencing Program and attend drug and alcohol counseling. WASP is an alternative to jail for nonviolent offenders. Inmates at WASP are allowed to go to their jobs but must return to the facility after work.
Flasck's felony DUI case went to trial last month but was declared a mistrial on the second day, after Police Officer Paul Monroe, a prosecution witness, was seen talking to a juror.
Atty. Roger Bauer, who represents Flasck, said he asked for the mistrial because jurors are not to talk to anyone involved in the case while the trial is taking place.
Flasck was arrested in Howland on Oct. 14, 1998. Court officials said he has three DUI convictions.
Flasck's case took several years to get to trial because, in 1999, Bauer asked Judge Stuard to prohibit prosecutors from informing the jury of Flasck's previous DUI charges.
Bauer argued that telling the jury about the convictions would be a violation of Flasck's constitutional right to a fair trial.
Bauer added that normally jurors are not told about a defendant's convictions unless the defendant testifies during trial.
Judge Stuard agreed with Bauer, and the case was put on hold while prosecutors appealed the judge's decision.
The 11th District Court of Appeals upheld Judge Stuard's ruling, but last year the Ohio Supreme Court overruled the decision, sending the case back to Trumbull County.