Judge Dinkelacker assigned Flynt trial
Case back on track after month's delay

Wednesday, May 20, 1998

The Cincinnati Enquirer

After a monthlong legal sideshow, Larry Flynt's obscenity case finally is on track.

The self-proclaimed king of porn will be arraigned June 1 in Hamilton County Common Pleas Court. The arraignment comes nearly two months after Mr. Flynt was indicted on 15 obscenity-related crimes related to video sales at his downtown Hustler store.

The delay was necessary to let attorneys address the way in which Judge Norbert Nadel bypassed rules requiring random assignment of cases and grabbed the case himself.

Judge Nadel stepped down from the case Monday, clearing the way for it to be assigned randomly.

When Court Administrator Mike Walton rolled the black and white ball out of the leather bottle shortly after noon Tuesday, Judge Patrick Dinkelacker's pill popped out.

Attorneys on both sides of the case had balked at Judge Nadel's decision to assign the case to himself, but both appeared satisfied with the random selection of Judge Dinkelacker.

"The only concern, I guess, is that he probably was a prosecutor when the original case came up," defense attorney H. Louis Sirkin said.

Although Judge Dinkelacker was not in the office when Mr. Flynt was prosecuted in Cincinnati in 1977, he was a member of the office's obscenity task force a few years later. Mr. Sirkin said he wants to check into the task force's work but said he does not anticipate a conflict.

Judge Dinkelacker said he is not overwhelmed by what likely will be the highest-profile case in Hamilton County in years.

"I'll just treat it as a regular case unless somebody wants to treat it otherwise," he said. "I'm looking forward to seeing that this case is tried properly and fairly, and if I'm the one trying it, it will be."

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