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Jimmy Dimora asks to be freed until sentencing

2:32 PM, Mar 20, 2012   |    comments
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AKRON -- Attorneys for former Cuyahoga County Commissioner Jimmy Dimora have asked for a hearing to allow his release from federal prison in Youngstown until his July 25 sentencing.

The motion was filed in federal court just before 7 a.m. Tuesday and neither the judge nor the U.S. Attorney's office has filed a reply yet.

If granted a hearing, "...Mr. Dimora will present evidence of several recent cases involving public office holders facing a lengthy sentence that have been released pending sentencing and commitment."

Dimora, 56, of Independence, was convicted March 9 on 33 of 34 federal counts, including conspiracy, bribery and racketeering. He was immediately taken into custody and has been held in the Northeast Ohio Correctional Center in Youngstown since that day.

His attorneys have also filed motions for a second trial and for his acquittal on all counts.

His attorney Bill Whitaker says that Dimora meets the conditions for release pending sentencing in several different circumstances.

Whitaker says Dimora can qualify "...if the judicial officer finds there is a substantial likelihood that a motion for acquittal or new trial will be granted; or an attorney for the government has recommended that no sentence of imprisonment be imposed on the person; and the judicial officer finds by clear and convincing evidence that the person is not likely to flee or pose a danger to any other person or the community."

But Whitaker feels that the rules for those convicted of a non-violent crime apply here, where the judge finds that the "...person is not likely to flee or pose a danger to the safety of any other person or the community if released."

"Specifically, at a hearing, Mr. Dimora seeks to present evidence that Mr. Dimora 'is not likely to flee' if released pending sentencing and a second trial. In the course of presenting that evidence, Mr. Dimora will also establish that he 'poses no danger to any person or the community.'"

Whitaker says U.S. District Judge Sara Lioi appears to have put him into custody March 9 "...based on the sole concern of whether there was a likelihood that he would flee. At a hearing on this motion, Mr. Dimora will present witnesses with regard to his lifelong ties to this community, the unlikeliness that he will flee his family and community, monitoring options available to the court and other evidence that will establish that he is not likely to flee."

Whitaker noted that "...shortly after the verdicts were read and inspected, the government made a motion to detain Mr. Dimora...the court entertained argument by the parties and no witnesses were called. The (judge) took a brief recess to consider the addition of a monitoring component..."

"...Upon return from that recess, the detention was ordered."

Whitaker says that if a hearing is granted, "...Mr. Dimora will present a number of credible witnesses who will testify about facts supporting a likelihood that Mr. Dimora will not flee. Evidence will establish lifetime of association with and residence in Cuyahoga County, a network of family and friends in Cuyahoga County and medical needs that impede any possibility a lifestyle necessary to flight..."


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