Prosecutors file appeal objecting to Yavorcik’s probation

By David Skolnick


Prosecutors in the corruption case of Martin Yavorcik filed an appeal saying his sentence of five years’ probation for eight felonies in connection with the Oakhill Renaissance Place corruption scandal was “contrary to law.”

The notice of appeal was filed Monday with the Cleveland-based 8th District Court of Appeals by Matthew E. Meyer, a Cuyahoga County assistant prosecutor, who – along with lawyers from the Ohio Attorney General’s Office – prosecuted Yavorcik, a failed 2008 independent candidate for Mahoning County prosecutor.

Prosecutors had said April 22, the day Judge Janet R. Burnside of Cuyahoga County Common Pleas Court sentenced Yavorcik, that they would appeal.

A jury March 25 found Yavorcik guilty of one count each of engaging in a pattern of corrupt activity, conspiracy and tampering with records; two counts of money laundering; and three counts of bribery. The jury sided with prosecutors who said Yavorcik took about $140,000 in bribes in 2008 to kill an investigation – if he were elected prosecutor – into the illegal obstruction of Mahoning County’s purchase of the Oakhill Renaissance Place, a former hospital on Youngstown’s South Side.

The purchase wasn’t stopped, and Yavorcik lost the election by 38 percentage points.

Yavorcik, an attorney who defended himself, asked for probation while prosecutors sought a sentence of five to nine years in prison.

The judge gave Yavorcik five years’ probation with the first year on house arrest.

“The way the sentence was imposed is contrary to law,” said Dan Tierney, an attorney general spokesman.

A more-detailed motion explaining why Yavorcik should be sentenced to prison will be filed later, Tierney said.

Cullen Sweeney of the Cuyahoga County Public Defender’s Office filed a notice of appeal May 11 seeking to overturn the conviction on eight felonies.

The Ohio Supreme Court indefinitely suspended Yavorcik’s law license May 2. Judge Burnside ruled May 11 that Yavorcik was indigent.

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