Friday, March 19, 2004

Prosecutor opposes Broadnax expungement

By Dan Horn
The Cincinnati Enquirer

Former Cincinnati health commissioner Stanley Broadnax wants a judge to erase his criminal conviction on drug charges.

Broadnax, who was paroled in 1997 after serving two years in prison for selling crack cocaine, filed paperwork last month in Hamilton County Common Pleas Court seeking to expunge his criminal record.

His attorney, William D. Bell Sr., would not say why his client was pursuing an expungement nearly 10 years after his conviction. But Hamilton County Prosecutor Mike Allen made it clear he will oppose the effort.

"This is a medical doctor who was selling crack cocaine to young people," Allen said. "In my mind, it doesn't get any worse than that."

Under Ohio law, expungements are intended to give first-time offenders with a small number of convictions a second chance at a clean slate. If a record is expunged, it is removed from public view and is no longer available to potential employers or anyone else.

Allen said Broadnax, with six convictions on drug charges, doesn't qualify for an expungement. He said his history as a medical doctor and as a public servant makes it even more important to keep his record public.

"Broadnax was not a typical drug dealer," Allen wrote in a motion opposing Broadnax's request. "He was sworn to help the sick. Instead, he created drug addictions and gave those already suffering from drug addiction the very poisons that made them sick."

He was Cincinnati's first and only African-American health commissioner, appointed in 1979. He was a champion of minority health issues and services for the poor, but he quit in 1993 amid complaints that he took sick time to moonlight as a doctor at the Southern Ohio Correctional Facility in Lucasville.

Broadnax, who has done some consulting work since his release from prison, applied in 1999 to become chief executive officer of the Cincinnati Empowerment Zone. The zone's board of trustees initially voted to give him the job but changed their minds after city officials objected to entrusting millions of tax dollars to a convicted felon.

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