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Toledo, Ohio & Lake Erie

The Press Newspaper

The Press Newspaper

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        An appeals court has denied a request by former state representative Steve Kraus for post-conviction relief from his theft conviction in 2015.

        In denying his request, the Ohio Sixth District Court of Appeals upheld an earlier decision in Ottawa County Common Pleas Court that dismissed his petition for relief.

        Kraus was convicted of one count of theft from an elderly person on July 27, 2015 and the lower courts ordered him to two years of community control and pay a $2,500 fine.

        He filed a direct appeal to the sixth district court which upheld his conviction in December 2016.

        In February 2017, Kraus, representing himself, filed a petition with the common pleas court to vacate the sentence, claiming allegations of wrongdoing against the former Ottawa County prosecutor, the appointed special prosecutor in his case, the former chairman of the Ohio Democratic Party, the visiting judge who presided over his criminal case and the chief justice of the Ohio Supreme Court.

        He argued their alleged acts should have rendered his conviction void.

        But the appeals court agreed with the decision of the common pleas court that Kraus didn’t file his petition within the time allotted by state law.

        The appeals court also ruled against Kraus’ claim the common pleas court erred by refusing to make findings of fact when dismissing his petition.

        The appeals court did acknowledge, however, the common pleas court wasn’t entirely accurate when it ruled Kraus “did not challenge the underlying merits of the felony for which he stands convicted.”

        “Appellant (Kraus) did provide an affidavit from a new witness, Ann Chio, who states that she contacted appellant on July 29, 2017 through Facebook Messenger because she had information relevant to his case…, “ the appeals court wrote. “Chio states that she overhead the alleged victim of appellant’s theft give her real estate agent, Jenine Porter, ‘permission to let someone into (her) house to appraise the antiques.’”

        At trial, Porter testified she only authorized Kraus to go into the victim’s garage to look at a car but didn’t give him permission to enter the house or appraise other property, according to court records. But Kraus testified Porter gave him permission to enter the victim’s property to evaluate personal belongings for possible auction.

        The appeals court ruled, however, that even if Chio’s statement wasn’t considered hearsay, it isn’t “clear and convincing evidence that appellant would not have been convicted if Chio had testified.”

        Kraus was removed from office after the conviction. This past November, he lost his bid to un-seat Marcy Kaptur for the Ohio 9th district congressional seat.

 

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