Suspended Athens County Sheriff May Be Getting A New Attorney

By
Steve Robb - Athens Messenger staff reporter


Updated Thu, May 1, 2014 6:10 pm
Photo Credit: 
Southeastern Ohio Regional Jail
Athens County Sheriff Pat Kelly was booked and released from the Southeastern Ohio Regional Jail on Feb. 11

The attorney who has been representing suspended Athens County Sheriff Patrick Kelly in his criminal case has asked to be removed, stating that another lawyer will take over.

Columbus attorney Bradley Koffel has been representing Kelly since after Kelly was arraigned in February in Athens County Common Pleas Court on 23 felony and two misdemeanor charges. Kelly has pleaded innocent, and a trial is currently scheduled for Sept. 29.

On Wednesday, Koffel filed a motion to withdraw from the case, citing the workload the case will involve.
Koffel said he had agreed to "provide limited pro bono assistance" to Kelly, which included filing a discovery motion asking the prosecution for its case materials.

According to Koffel, the prosecution responded with nearly 33,000 pages of information that he estimated will take at least 500 hours to print, bind, review, analyze and organize.

"...Given the amount of work that will be required of trial counsel, attorney Bradley P. Koffel cannot commit 500-plus hours in this case to just review discovery," Koffel wrote.

He estimated that trial preparation will require at lease an additional 100 hours of attorney time.
"The state of Ohio has significant resources available to it that Sheriff Kelly does not have, not the least of which is manpower and money," Koffel wrote.

Koffel wrote that he discussed his concerns with Kelly and that after "much discussion and collaboration" it was decided that Kelly would retain attorney Scott Wood. Wood is a Lancaster-based criminal lawyer.

Koffel wrote that he "remains constant in his advocacy of Sheriff Kelly's innocence" and will remain in an advisory postion, assisting with strategy and preparation for trial.

As of Thursday afternoon, Judge Patricia Cosgrove had not filed a decision on Koffel's request to withdraw from the case.

Kelly is charged with theft in office, theft, tampering with evidence, tampering with records, money laundering, perjury, obstructing official business, dereliction of duty, failure to keep a legally required cash book and engaging in a pattern of corrupt activity.

A special commission appointed by Ohio Supreme Court Chief Justice Maureen O'Connor suspended Kelly from office while the case is pending. Rodney Smith was selected by the Athens County Democratic Party to serve as interim sheriff.

Wood is the attorney for Deborah Smalley, a former Fairfield County clerk of courts who has been indicted on charges of theft in office, tampering with evidence, engaging in a pattern of corrupt activity and other counts.

A special Ohio Supreme Court commission also was appointed to consider Smalley's suspension, but she resigned from office prior to the commission announcing its decision.

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