No more delays, judge rules in Infante corruption case
The visiting judge in the Ralph Infante public corruption trial has shut down every argument the former Niles mayor’s attorney has made for dismissing charges or suppressing evidence in the case.
Furthermore, Judge Patricia Cosgrove, a retired Summit County Common Pleas Court judge, warned defense attorney John Juhasz and attorneys from the Ohio Attorney General’s Office they must not further delay the trial date set for April 23.
Judge Cosgrove issued a ruling this week saying Juhasz’s argument that the 41 charges Ralph Infante faces should be dismissed because of an undue delay is without merit.
“It is undisputed that the  counts in the indictment were brought within the applicable statues of limitations,” the ruling says. “That [prosecutors] did not learn of [Infante’s] alleged criminal activity and begin investigating such activity until 2014 is not a delay that can be [blamed on] the State.”
Juhasz sought dismissal of the charges based on some of the charges being so old that bank records have been destroyed and witnesses, such as Infante’s father and secretary, have died.
Some charges date back as far as far as 1993, nearly to the beginning of Infante’s 24 years as Niles mayor. But about 30 date back no more than six years before they were filed, prosecutors said. Lead prosecutor Daniel Kasaris said the investigation began in fall 2014.
Judge Cosgrove cited a U.S. Supreme Court decision saying improper investigative delay would involve trying to gain a tactical advantage over a defendant by delaying the filing of charges.
But it is fair to delay charges if a prosecutor “refuses to seek indictments until he is completely satisfied that he should prosecute and will be able promptly to establish guilt beyond a reasonable doubt.”
The couple of years investigators and prosecutors spent investigating the case and filing charges did not violate Infante’s due-process rights “even if his defense might have been somewhat [hampered] by the lapse of time,” Judge Cosgrove’s ruling says.
Read more about the case in Thursday's Vindicator or on Vindy.com.