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Civic activist Stacy Hinners asks Huron Municipal Court to permanently dismiss the First Amendment-retaliatory charges against her

Thursday, July 2, 2020

The request follows the City's firing of "special" prosecutor Michael Joseph O'Shea,, nearly 14 months after her ordeal for speaking truth to the City Council about its misconduct began.

Video of Huron civic activist Stacy Hinners enduring First Amendment retaliation on May 14, 2019.

Huron, OH – Today—nearly 14 months after Huron civic activist Stacy Hinners's ordeal of First Amendment retaliation and malicious prosecution began—Huron civic activist Stacy Hinners's counsel asked a visiting judge of the Huron Municipal Court to convert the previous dismissal of the criminal charges against her from a status where the charges could be refiled, to a permanent dismissal, known as a "dismissal with prejudice." Mrs. Hinners had been charged for her May 14, 2019 speech to the City Council, in which she criticized the City Council's Open Meetings Act violations.

Today's court motion noted that the City on June 24 fired Michael Joseph O’Shea—the so-called “special” prosecutor engaged to prosecute Mrs. Hinners, and that the City has finally abandoned its efforts to prosecute Mrs. Hinners. Michael O'Shea's firing complied with a formal, May 8, 2020 written taxpayer demand by City of Huron civic activists Stacey Hartley; Michele Schuster; Brandon and Elisabeth Kenning; John and Cheryl Zimmerman; and Charles and Charlene Baron that the City do so. That letter pointed out several reasons that O’Shea’s appointment and conduct were illegal. And it noted O’Shea failed to take the oath to “support the Constitution of the United States” that Ohio law mandates.

Subodh Chandra and Brian Bardwell of Chandra Law represent Mrs. Hinners in defending the First Amendment–retaliatory criminal prosecution against her. Facing a hearing on selective prosecution in which a number of his "witnesses" were themselves, at Chandra's request, facing criminal investigation by the Ohio attorney general for civil-rights violations, O'Shea dismissed the charges "without prejudice," meaning he was free to refile at any time.

Chandra and Bardwell also represent Mrs. Hinners and her husband Jason HInners in their civil-rights lawsuit against O’Shea, the City, and other current and former Huron officials including former Mayor Brad Hartung and Councilman Glen Ginesi. And they represent the taxpayer civic activists who made the successful demand on the City that O'Shea be fired.

Chandra said, "We've asked the Huron Municipal Court to convert the dismissal of the First Amendment–retaliatory charges against Mrs. Hinners to a permanent one because the City hasn't, even though it has said it has no intention of trying to prosecute Mrs. Hinners. This nightmare needs to end and those responsible for it will be held accountable."

The Ohio attorney general's criminal investigation remains pending.

Related Practice Areas
First AmendmentGovernment Ethics, Misconduct, Fraud, & AbuseOhio Public Records Act, Open Meetings Act, FOIA, & Sunshine LawsMalicious Prosecution, Abuse of Process, and False Arrest

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