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Jury resumes deliberations in Martin paddling case



Published: Thu, February 3, 2005 @ 12:00 a.m.



WARREN -- Jurors in the trial of James Martin, retired Fowler Township police chief, were to resume deliberations in Trumbull County Common Pleas Court this morning.

Jurors are deciding whether Martin, also a retired Howland police captain, took official records and ran a sham legal process in which he paddled young male offenders.

Judge Andrew Logan sent the jury home overnight.

Jurors deliberated for an hour Tuesday and all day Wednesday.

Arguments

Martin's defense has been that he ran an effective juvenile diversion program that kept wayward teens out of court, and taught them the value of work and good behavior.

The prosecution has argued that Martin had no authority to run his program outside of court supervision, to paddle and videotape young men as part of the program, or to keep case files at home.

Martin faces 12 counts of dereliction of duty, one count of felony theft in office, 11 counts of assault and 12 counts of using a sham legal process. All but the theft count are misdemeanors.

If convicted, Martin could face two years in prison.

State and federal officials began investigating Martin's juvenile diversion program in March 2004. The program was being operated out of the Fowler Township Police Department, but until 1993 ran out of Howland's department.

Martin retired from the part-time Fowler and full-time Howland jobs last year.




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