An Explanation Of Mace’s Legal Proceedings

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Glouster Police Chief Lucas Mace, who was arrested Friday, made his initial court appearance in Athens County Municipal Court Tuesday morning.

Mace, who is out of jail after posting $10,000 bond Saturday morning, was represented by his attorney Claire M. Ball Jr. A tentative preliminary hearing to determine probable cause was set for June 2 before Municipal Court Judge William A. Grim.

Currently, Mace is charged with two counts of obstruction of justice for allegedly harboring a fugitive who was wanted by both Perry County and Athens County authorities. She has a warrant for a probation violation in Perry County and a drug-related warrant from Athens County.

Although a preliminary hearing is currently scheduled, those cases will likely be dismissed since it has been announced that Athens County Prosecutor Keller Blackburn took the cases directly to the Athens County Grand Jury on Tuesday morning.

The Grand Jury will determine what indictments, if any, will be issued. The indictments could be for the same charges as were originally filed in Municipal Court or there could be different or additional charges filed.

If the indictments are issued, the Municipal Court cases will be dismissed and a preliminary hearing avoided.  The county prosecutor determines whether to have a probable cause hearing in Municipal Court or take the cases directly to the Grand Jury. Blackburn has opted for the grand jury route.

Once indictments are issued, the forum for adjudication of the cases transfers from Municipal Court to the Athens County Common Pleas Court. 

Once the cases arrive at Common Pleas Court, the local judges must decide, because Mace is a local law enforcement officer, whether they will hear the case or whether they will ask the Ohio Supreme Court to appoint a visiting judge. 

Prosecutor Blackburn has scheduled a media briefing for Tuesday at 1:30 p.m. It is expected that the indictments will be revealed at that time.