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Prosecutor disputes petition filed by fired assistant prosecutor

By Justin Wier

Friday, January 5, 2018

By Justin Wier

jwier@vindy.com

YOUNGSTOWN

The Mahoning County Prosecutor’s office filed a motion Thursday to strike a petition filed by Martin Desmond, former assistant county prosecutor, which alleges prosecutorial misconduct and asks to have five grand jury transcripts unsealed.

A filing in support of the motion by attorneys representing the prosecutor’s office argues Desmond improperly filed the petition and misled the court.

“This petition demonstrates a desperate attempt by [Desmond] to collaterally attack the jurisdictional decision of the State Personnel Board of Review, is being misused as a discovery tool, and corrupts the legitimate appellate processes from the order of the [SPBR],” the filing states.

The petition is the latest filing by Desmond after his firing by Mahoning County Prosecutor Paul Gains in April.

Desmond violated office policy by discussing a matter he was no longer handling with people outside the office, including a lawyer who sued the county in federal court, Gains said at the time.

Desmond has argued he was fired for exposing misconduct in the prosecutor’s office, and his petition cited six cases in which he alleges the office persuaded grand juries to indict people without sufficient evidence – in some cases to compel testimony.

The SPBR, however, ruled that Desmond’s case did not merit “whistle-blower” protection, and an administrative law judge wrote his reports alleging misconduct were “not made in good faith.”

Desmond argues unsealing five grand jury transcripts would expose the pattern of misconduct by the prosecutor’s office and bolster his appeal to the SPBR.

The petition Desmond filed was not associated with a specific case in Mahoning County Common Pleas Court and addressed to the administrative judge and grand jury judge.

The filing states that Desmond would need to address petitions to the trial courts in the cases he cited. It also argues Desmond cannot demand evidence for his civil claim appealing the SPBR’s ruling because that case currently does not have a judge.

It also argues Desmond misled the court by referring to himself as a whistleblower.

The filing also questions Desmond’s characterization of six alleged incidents as a “pattern of misconduct.”

It states that Gains’ office has prosecuted more than 23,000 cases during his time in office.

“Simple math tells the court that Desmond’s claim that he reported a pattern of prosecutorial misconduct is refuted by sheer numbers,” the filing states.

The filing asks Judge Maureen A. Sweeney, the court’s administrative judge, to strike Desmond’s petition.