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Former judge wants off probation

Published: Tue, March 4, 2014 @ 12:05 a.m.

By Peter H. Milliken



A federal judge still hasn’t ruled on a request made almost two months ago by a former Mahoning County Common Pleas Court judge for an early end to her post-prison federal supervision.

Maureen A. Cronin, who was released from the Federal Correctional Institution in Greenville, Ill., on March 8, 2012, made her written request Jan. 6 to Akron-based U.S. District Judge Sara Lioi.

Judge Lioi had sentenced Cronin to 27 months in prison and fined her $4,000 after Cronin pleaded guilty to honest services mail fraud.

Cronin was charged with taking and failing to report an $18,000 no-interest cash loan from a local businesswoman, whose company had cases pending before her.

Cronin self-reported to the prison camp March 24, 2010, and was released March 8, 2012, “having received credit for good time,” Cronin wrote in her letter to Judge Lioi.

The federal judge had sentenced Cronin, 60, of Youngstown, to be on supervised released for three years, and Cronin has so far been under supervision for almost two years.

Justin J. Roberts, the assistant U.S. attorney who prosecuted Cronin, filed a written objection to Cronin’s request Jan. 22, saying reducing her supervised release time “is not in the interest of justice ... particularly in light of the serious nature of the underlying offense.”

Cronin “has not identified any burden the supervised release imposes upon her other activities,” Roberts added.

In her letter, Cronin told Judge Lioi she has complied with all rules and regulations, while in prison and on supervised release and that her probation officer is aware of and supports her early-termination request.

Her probation officer, Kevin G. Clements, could not be reached to comment.

Cronin told the federal judge she became executive director of the nonprofit Midlothian Free Health Clinic, which provides free medical services to uninsured people, on Dec. 1, 2012.

In that position, Cronin said she writes grant applications and does public speaking and recruiting “in hopes of growing the agency.”

When a reporter called her on a clinic telephone line, Cronin said: “You are calling a business line to ask a personal question. That is totally unacceptable. Have a good day.” She then hung up.

An earlier attempt by a reporter to reach Cronin on her home telephone line was unsuccessful.

As conditions of her probation, Judge Lioi said Cronin must:

Participate in an approved substance-abuse treatment program, including alcohol and drug testing, to determine if she has reverted to substance abuse.

Refrain from gambling or associating with those involved in that activity.

Provide her probation officer any financial information he requests and participate in any outpatient mental-health treatment he orders.

Remain in Northern Ohio unless Judge Lioi or her probation officer permit travel elsewhere.

Since her release from prison, Cronin told Judge Lioi she has volunteered at the Community Corrections Association in Youngstown, where she has helped women make the transition back into the community and developed “a curriculum to train caregivers and social workers working with children of incarcerated parents.”

“She did a great job,” said David Stillwagon, CCA chief executive officer, who supervised Cronin’s work there. “She was able to effectively reach out to the women within the halfway house.”

Cronin was “able to share her real-life experience and what it is that she had to do in order to effectively reintegrate back into society,” Stillwagon added.

In her letter to Judge Lioi, Cronin cited a June 24, 2010, U.S. Supreme Court decision rendered while she was incarcerated, which said the honest-services fraud statute “is properly confined to cover only bribery and kickback schemes.”

Based on that decision, Cronin said her conduct “may not be interpreted as a violation of that statute,” but she chose not to appeal to vacate her plea based on that decision.

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