Friday, September 24, 1999
Ex-magistrate back in jail
Early release on theft conviction ruled a mistake
BY SHEILA McLAUGHLIN
The Cincinnati Enquirer
LEBANON Freedom was short-lived for a former Butler County magistrate convicted of stealing $423,000 from an elderly client.
A judge Thursday ordered David Garretson back to prison for another eight months after authorities realized he had been released too early.
Following a hearing in Warren County Common Pleas Court, Mr. Garretson, 48, solemnly removed his tie and belt, handed his wallet to his crying wife, then kissed her.
Then, a deputy handcuffed him and led him off to the county jail.
He has until Monday to file an appeal and be freed on bond. Otherwise, he will be sent to the state penitentiary next week. Mr. Garretson's lawyer said he will appeal the ruling.
Obviously it was a mistake on somebody's part, Judge P. Daniel Fedders said of the early release. The fact remains for whatever reason, the defendant should not have been released.
Judge Fedders had sentenced Mr. Garretson to a two-year term in prison in March 1998 and ordered him to pay back $363,429. Mr. Garretson pleaded no-contest to two counts of aggravated theft for stealing from Carrie Musgrove's estate from July 1993 through June 1996.
Police said Mr. Garretson, who had power of attorney for Mrs. Musgrove since 1992, wrote checks to himself and used automated teller machines to withdraw money from her checking account. Mrs. Musgrove died in 1997 at age 92.
Mr. Garretson was sentenced under Senate Bill 2, which took effect July 1, 1996, and required him to serve the full sentence. However, corrections officials reduced the prison term by crediting Mr. Garretson with days off for good behavior.
He was freed July 9 from Pickaway Correctional Institution.
Warren County authorities found out about the release when Judge Fedders logged onto the state corrections Web site, which allows users to search for an inmate's prison status.
State corrections officials said Thursday that the sentencing order from the court was not clear. Prosecutors say it was.
Defense lawyer James Perry argued that Judge Fedders did not have the legal authority to send Mr. Garretson back to prison.
Besides, Mr. Garretson had been through enough, he said.
Mr. Garretson did nothing to bring this situation about. Now you want to jerk him back. It's unheard of. It's cruel and unusual punishment to make someone serve their sentence by installments, Mr. Perry said.
CDC rejects Fernald study
AROUND THE COMMONWEALTH
Bauer proposes 16% flat income tax, cuts in breaks
Budget battle may last
Candidates push for better schools
Council candidates push for improved schools
GOP social spending bill advances
Answers coming, chief assures firefighters
Auction for symphony to include artwork, violin
Bombings put black college on edge, alert
Brush fire tests 10 departments
Cities reconsider gun trade-ins
City not giving up on housing grant
Do two Ludlow jobs conflict?
'Ejay' Callner assisted HUC archivist
Ex-guard jeered by family of victim
Ex-guard to become a prisoner
Ex-magistrate back in jail
FBI focuses on scientist in telescope lens theft
Former Butler Co. magistrate back behind bars
Futurists think global
Guardsmen hailed for tornado work
Gulf War vets sought for medical study
Independence considers law regulating vicious animals
Landen rape not by serial rapist, DNA proves
Lawmaker says state profiting illegally from license plates
Lucas asks seniors for copies of prescription drug bills
Muslims plan International Academy
New era begins for UC
Paducah workers fear they are dying
Playground lesson in unity
Police chief says alcohol eased job stress
Possible plutonium exposure at Fernald probed
Take a trip back to 1800s with Blue Ash Heritage Day
Turfway has party air for Day of Champions
Two are sought in Covington shooting
Union chief urges study on workplace violence
Voters hold key to new high school
Woman loves fest to the core
Woman's body found in Bond Hill alley