Complaint against county prosecutor updated

From staff reports

The civil lawsuit calling for the removal of Washington County Prosecutor Kevin Rings saw updates Friday.

According to the Washington County Clerk of Courts, Retired Judge Janet Burnside, who was appointed Wednesday by the Ohio Supreme Court to oversee the case, scheduled a preliminary hearing to take place May 21.

“She hasn’t ruled in favor or against the temporary restraining order, but the hearing is on the preliminary injunction,” explained attorney Ethan Vessels, representing local attorneys and the county sheriff in the case. “Though it’s my understanding that the restraining order may be moot since Mr. Rings has not been in the office this week.”

Rings was convicted of coercion on April 12, after a week-long trial convinced a Washington County jury that Rings used his position as a point of power and control over a victim/witness in separate cases, Amy Davis, of Belpre.

The second-degree misdemeanor has Rings facing up to 90 days in jail–a fate to be determined at sentencing on May 16.

The civil injunction asks the court to withhold Rings from performing his duties as elected prosecuting attorney while the court decides whether to remove him from office.

“And I also will file Monday to add five more attorneys to the plaintiff list,” said Vessels.

He said the following attorneys have asked to be added to the complaint:

• Shawna Landaker, assistant public defender.

• Rhonda Mears, former assistant prosecutor.

• Anita Newhart.

• Jennifer Garrison.

• Dan Everson, assistant Marietta city law director .

The additions would raise the number of plaintiffs to 24 — all of which are local Marietta attorneys besides Washington County Sheriff Larry Mincks.

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