Appeal in Ralph Infante criminal case delayed by procedural issue

Staff report


Oral arguments previously scheduled for Thursday in the appeal of the convictions and sentence of former Niles Mayor Ralph Infante have been canceled after the three appeals court judges ruled Monday they do not have jurisdiction to hear the appeal.

Their judgment entry says they cannot proceed until the “judgment of conviction” filed by Judge Patricia Cosgrove, who presided over Infante’s trial in Trumbull County Common Pleas Court, is amended to comply with Ohio criminal rules. The judges encouraged Judge Cosgrove to file a new entry “as soon as possible.” Then the appeal can be re-filed.

The judges said Judge Cosgrove’s entry was not a final, appealable order because it did not indicate what sentence Infante was receiving for one of his convictions. Instead, she orally stated that she was “merging” the conviction with another conviction for sentencing purposes.

Judge Cosgrove sentenced Infante to 10 years in prison for engaging in a pattern of corrupt activity during his 24 years as mayor, tampering with records, theft in office, gambling, falsification and having an unlawful interest in a public contract. She was assigned to the case by the Ohio Supreme Court.

Cosgrove is a retired former Summit County Common Pleas Court judge. The three appeals court judges are from the Akron-based Ninth District Court of Appeals, who were assigned to hear the appeal in place of appeals judges from the Warren-based 11th District Court of Appeals.

Attorneys with the Ohio Attorney General’s Office prosecuted the case.

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