UPDATE | Court vacates Yavorcik conviction over venue
CLEVELAND — The 8th District Court of Appeals today vacated the eight felony convictions of Martin Yavorcik in his Oakhill Renaissance Place corruption case saying Cuyahoga County was the wrong venue to conduct the trial.
In a 3-0 decision, the court of appeals wrote: “The trial court erred in denying Yavorcik’s motion for judgment of acquittal for lack of venue. As a result, Yavorcik’s conviction cannot stand. It is mandatory that venue be proven beyond a reasonable doubt before a conviction can be sustained.”
The court of appeals ordered the case be sent back to Cuyahoga County Common Pleas Court Judge Janet R. Burnside, who oversaw Yavorcik’s trial, “to vacate the judgment.” It added:
“The court finds there were reasonable grounds for this appeal.”
Yavorcik, a failed 2008 independent Mahoning County prosecutor candidate, was found guilty March 25, 2016, of eight felonies: 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.
He was sentenced by Judge Burnside on April 22, 2016, to five years’ probation, including the first year on house arrest – which he served – as well as having his law license suspended for five years, requiring him to undergo alcohol-abuse treatment, and 200 hours of community service.
A three-member panel of the Cleveland-based 8th District Court of Appeals heard Yavorcik’s appeal March 28, 2017.
For the complete story, read Friday’s Vindicator and Vindy.com