Parties Trying To Reach Agreement On Sheriff’s Subpoena

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The Athens County Sheriff’s Office is trying by agreement to limit the scope of a special Grand Jury subpoena calling for the disclosure of “confidential informants.”

At this time, no official “motion to quash” the subpoena has been filed with the court. That would be the official way to get a judicial ruling concerning the viability of a subpoena.

Instead, Athens County Prosecutor Keller Blackburn, on behalf of the Sheriff’s Office, is trying to work informally with Assistant Attorney General James Roberts, who heads the current investigation, to set parameters of the subpoena that are agreeable to all parties.

Blackburn and Roberts met yesterday after the special Grand Jury session to discuss the issue.

“Roberts agreed to discuss a narrowing of the subpoena with his office,” Blackburn said. “We also talked about an order to ensure the record is not publicly released except as necessary for the investigation and any court proceeding.”

Blackburn awaits Roberts’ response. Blackburn also reiterates that the information requested in the subpoena is not normally public record that is open to disclosure since it meets a specific exception to the Ohio Public Records Act.

Earlier on Tuesday, Sheriff Pat Kelly attempted to send a letter directly to Athens Co. Common Pleas Judge George McCarthy to get the subpoena quashed. Judge McCarthy noted that the procedure used by the Sheriff was not in accordance with standard practices for judicial review.

It was then that Blackburn issued a letter to Roberts to try to get voluntary limitations on the subpoena.

Blackburn noted in an email response that he did so representing the Office of the Sheriff and not the sheriff, himself. By law, the county prosecutor represents other county offices but not the individual who holds the office.

“The Sheriff would need to employ his own council for his individual liabilities,” Blackburn said. Blackburn’s intercession yesterday was on behalf of the Office of the Sheriff and not on behalf of Kelly.

No new date has been set for the next session of the special Grand Jury.