Plea deal off for man accused of threatening judge

Audio tapes of calls the suspect made from the jail were accidentally erased.
YOUNGSTOWN -- Kenneth Favors expected to be sentenced Tuesday to four years in prison, knowing that he would receive judicial release after six months under the terms of a plea agreement.
Instead, Favors received a trial date of May 8 on charges that he threatened to kill Judge R. Scott Krichbaum of Mahoning County Common Pleas Court and the judge's wife.
Favors, 51, of West Delason Avenue, faces one count each of intimidation and retaliation, both felonies of the third degree, and two counts of telecommunications harassment -- one a first-degree misdemeanor, the other a fifth-degree felony because it's a subsequent offense.
Favors is accused of placing two collect calls to Judge Krichbaum's home last April from the county jail and making threats. The judge's wife answered the phone both times.
Favors expressed his surprise at the turn of events to visiting Judge Thomas P. Curran of Cuyahoga County. "I thought we had an agreement," Favors said.
Did it himself
Judge Curran said it was Favors' own words that warranted the change.
When Favors pleaded guilty as charged Jan. 26, he had admitted guilt and expressed remorse, Judge Curran said. Afterward, when Favors was interviewed by someone from the Adult Parole Authority for a presentence investigation, he said he was innocent and that, because of his extensive record, he doubted he would get a fair trial.
Under those circumstances, Judge Curran said that he wouldn't agree to judicial release and that Favors was entitled to withdraw his plea.
"I have to protect his rights," Judge Curran said. "I believe I am obligated to do what I am doing."
Judge Curran also said he had no idea that Favors has "an avalanche of felony convictions." Referring to the pre-sentence investigation, the judge read a list of 30 convictions that dates back to 1972 for crimes committed in Youngstown, Warren and Texas, which include breaking and entering, burglary, felonious assault and domestic violence.
His record aside
Favors' public defender, Atty. William J. Mooney of Columbus, objected to Judge Curran's recitation of Favors' record in light of his client's concerns about receiving a fair trial. Conviction records aren't private, Judge Curran said, and Favors will be tried under "complete presumption of innocence."
Favors was in Mahoning County jail on a charge of breaking and entering when he was accused of calling Judge Krichbaum's home. Favors was not indicted on charges of breaking and entering because the witnesses, who were renting the home Favors was accused of breaking into, couldn't be located to testify before a grand jury, said Timothy E. Franken, assistant county prosecutor.
Favors remains in the county jail.
Before the plea agreement was reached in January, Mooney and co-counsel Charles B. Clovis had filed a motion to suppress and requested an evidentiary hearing, saying audio tapes of calls Favors made from the jail had been destroyed by the prosecution. The audio tapes were accidentally erased while they were being transferred to compact disc, Franken said.
"We have the best evidence. We have the lady herself," Franken said, referring to Mrs. Krichbaum.
If Favors is found guilty, he could face a maximum sentence of 11 1/2 years.
Judge Krichbaum, who has opposed judicial release for Favors, declined to comment.

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