Toledo criminals are walking free

By Dick Berry - email

Posted by Dave Dykema - email

TOLEDO, OH (WTOL) - Toledo's 75 laid-off police officers are having another effect, this time at the Toledo Municipal Court.

Judges are dropping cases.

So far the crimes aren't major, with charges ranging from traffic offenses to disorderly conduct and even resisting arrest.

Judge Timothy Kuhlman feels his hands are tied. "The judges have to follow the Constitution. If the city doesn't bring its witnesses because they laid them off, we have to, under the 6th amendment, dismiss the case."

Officers are often witnesses in the cases tried here. But if the cop has been pink slipped, they're often not showing up.

The result, says Judge Kuhlman, is not only will crooks return to the streets, but many will not even be picked up in the first place.

"When you lay off 75 police officers, criminals are not going to be charged with crimes. Ones who have, their cases are going to be dismissed."

But will it lead to an outbreak of crime?

"I don't know if it will encourage them to commit crimes," says defense attorney Jerry Phillips. "But once they're charged with a crime, what you'll find are more people charged will say 'I want to take my case to trial, see if that officer is still on the force.'"

Some suggest the laid-off officers should be served subpoenas to testify in the cases.

Phillips doesn't think that's the solution.

"The laid-off officers must be notified some way. So you have manpower use of police to go out and serve that." However, he adds, "I don't think that's the best use of police power."

Toledoans WTOL spoke to are outraged criminals are walking free.

"I don't think it's right," says David Troutman. "I think they should bring the police back."

Darryl Lunt thinks, "It's going to get worse. More fire, more thefts, a lot of stuff."

Jesse Tristan feels the solution is to get the police "back as soon as possible."

Until that happens, some criminals will continue to walk free from Municipal Court.

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