County Judge Warner and his wife convicted in hit-and-run
Originally Posted; March 10, 2021 | Republished by LIT; March 11, 2021
MARION COUNTY, Ohio — A Marion County Common Pleas judge and his wife have been found guilty of multiple felony charges stemming from a June 2020 hit-and-run that injured a 19-year-old man, Ohio Attorney General Dave Yost announced Wednesday.
‘It’s almost a cliché – the coverup is worse than the crime. Here, the most serious crimes were what happened after the crash – and a sitting judge should have known better,” Yost said. “This case shows that even the most powerful people are not above the law. I’m proud of the assistant attorneys general who prosecuted this case to a verdict, Maggie Tomaro and Christian Stickan.”
Judge Jason Warner was found guilty of complicity to leaving the scene of an accident, a felony of the fourth degree, and complicity to tampering with evidence, a felony of the third degree.
Julia Warner, his wife and the driver of the vehicle, was found guilty of two counts of misdemeanor negligent assault, complicity to leaving the scene of an accident and complicity to tampering with evidence.
Under Ohio Revised Code Section 2961.01, as a convicted felon, Jason Warner will not be eligible to serve as a judge. The Warners are set to be sentenced on April 14 at 10:30 a.m.
The crash was investigated by the Ohio State Highway Patrol and the Ohio Attorney General’s Bureau of Criminal Investigation. The Special Prosecutions Section of the Attorney General’s Office prosecuted the case.
Trial for Marion Judge Jason Warner and Julia Warner to begin on Monday
Originally Posted; March 8, 2021 | Republished by LIT; March 10, 2021
The trial is set to begin for Marion Judge Jason Warner and Julia Warner, his wife, for their alleged involvement in a hit-and-skip crash that left one man injured on June 4, 2020.
Jason, 50, and Julia, 53, both of Marion, were scheduled to appear in the Common Pleas Court on Monday, March 8, 2021 at 9 a.m.
The Warners have pleaded not guilty to all charges that were filed against them.
The Warners waived their right to a trial by jury, according to online court records filed on Feb. 24 of this year. Instead the two will try their case before Judge Patricia A. Cosgrove, a visiting judge who is now retired after serving on the Summit County Court of Common Pleas. She was appointed by the Ohio Supreme Court to preside over this case in mid-July of last year.
Samuel H. Shamansky serves as the defense attorney for the Warners and Donald Regensburger is set to appear as co-counsel for Jason Warner. Special prosecution is being conducted by Margaret B. Tomaro, senior assistant attorney general from the Ohio Attorney General’s office.
Earlier this year in January, prosecutors filed a motion to sever the case and try the two separately citing that the Warners’ statements to law enforcement could implicate each other. Ultimately this motion did not pass and the court is moving forward with trying the two jointly. According to online records, Jason Warner waived any potential objection to the case being tried jointly on Feb. 24 of this year.
Online court records also show the state plans on using expert witnesses during the trial. This will include testimonies from Ohio State Highway Patrol Sergeant John R. Banta who specializes in crash reconstruction and crash data retrieval; and Christine Hammett, a forensic scientist and DNA specialist.
According to online court records, the Warners are accused of leaving the scene of a two car crash that occurred around midnight on June 4, 2020 at the intersection of Ohio 203 and Sommerlot-Hoffman Road. Per the report, the Warners were traveling south on Ohio 203 when they allegedly failed to yield before making a left turn resulting in the car to crash into the victim’s vehicle which was traveling north.
Following the crash, a 19-year-old Marion man was injured and taken to the hospital to receive treatment for his injuries where he was released the following day. Additionally, reports state he suffered a head injury and he was trapped in the vehicle where he had to be mechanically removed.
The Warners were jointly indicted by the Marion grand jury during the Sept. 9, 2020 session of the Common Pleas Courts where they were charged with two counts of complicity to vehicular manslaughter, one being a fourth-degree felony and the other a third-degree felony; one count of complicity to leaving the scene of an accident, a fourth-degree felony; and one count of complicity to tampering with evidence, a third-degree felony.
More recently, prosecution has dismissed the vehicular assault charges against Jason Warner, according to an indictment that was amended on Feb. 22 of this year.
Since the incident, Jason Warner, who was elected in November 2018, has taken a leave of absence from the bench. However, he has yet to resign from his position despite calls to do so from local politicians and leaders including Mayor Scott Schertzer and Marion County Sheriff Matt Bayles.
On Sept. 10 of last year, the Ohio Supreme Court issued an order that disqualified Warner from acting as a judge while any and all indictments filed in the Common Pleas Court are pending, according to past news reports. While this does stop Warner from presiding over cases, this doesn’t remove him from the bench.
Marion County judge, wife plead not guilty in hit-and-run crash; judge won’t resign
Originally Posted; Sept. 15, 2020 | Republished by LIT; 11 Oct, 2020
MARION, Ohio — A Marion County common pleas court judge was on the other side of the bench Tuesday morning, pleading not guilty, along with his wife, to fleeing from a June crash that seriously injured a man.
Judge Jason Warner appeared with his wife Julia, in front of a visiting judge this morning.
After the hearing, Warner’s attorney said the judge had no plans to resign.
“Absolutely not. Zero plans,” said Sam Shamansky, Warner’s attorney. “He’s innocent. He pled not guilty for a reason.”
Warner and his wife face four felony counts in relation to the accident, which happened on June 2, shortly after midnight. The Warners’ car turned left at an intersection, into oncoming traffic, hitting the car driven by a 19-year-old man. The man suffered serious injuries and was trapped in his car. The Warners drove away, according to reports from the Ohio State Highway Patrol.
Reports show that Julia Warner appeared at the patrol post the next morning to explain what happened and said that she was driving.
The call for Warner’s resignation has grown. Marion’s mayor, the county sheriff, and the county Republican party chairman have all called for him to step down.
Monica Reed, of Marion, led two different protests in front of the Marion County courthouse, calling for justice. She’s concerned Warner is getting preferential treatment.
“If it would have been anyone else in the community, he would have already been arrested, in front of a judge, possible jail time,” she said.
The Warners are now free on bond. Their next hearing is a status conference by phone in October.
Source: Crawford County NowStanding ( left to right) Julia Warren,53, Marion Common Pleas Court Judge Jason Warner,50 of Marion (Center) and their attorney Samuel Shamansky of Columbus enter not guilty pleas to several felonies resulting from a June hit-skip accident in Marion. The Warner’s were each placed on $15,000 bonds.
MARION — Marion County Common Pleas Court Judge Jason Warner, 50, and his wife Julia, 53 both of Marion appeared in Marion County Common Pleas Court Tuesday morning to be arraigned on multiple felony charges.
The couple is accused of leaving the scene of a hit-skip accident on June 4, 2020 on Somerlot-Hoffman Road in Marion. A 19 year old Marion man was left at the scene He was injured and taken to a hospital but released the next day.
Each of the Warners are each facing one count of complicity to vehicular assault, each felonies of the fourth degree and each punishable with up to 18 months in prison, two counts of complicity to vehicular assault, each third degree felonies and each punishable with up to 36 months in prison, two counts of complicity to leaving the scene of an accident, both fourth degree felonies punishable with up to 18 months in prison and two counts of tampering with evidence, each felonies of the third degree punishable with up to 36 months in prison.
In the felony charges of complicity to leaving the scene of an accident, prosecutors contend that the Warners knew the accident caused serious bodily injury to another person and still left the scene.
Appearing much thinner, gaunt and with completely gray hair, Judge Warner appeared with his attorney Samuel Shamansky of Columbus. For purposes of the arraignment only, Shamansky represented both the Warners. Also present in the courtroom was the victim.
The case is being presided over by Summit County Common Pleas Court Judge Patricia Cosgrove. Cosgrove has served 28 years on the bench and was appointed by the Ohio Attorney General Dave Yost.
Special assistant prosecutor to Ohio General Attorney Dave Yost, Margaret Tomaro will prosecute the case. Tomaro specializes in the prosecution of cases involving law enforcement.
On behalf of the Warners, Shamansky waived the reading of the indictment and entered not guilty pleas on their behalf.
Prosecutor Tomaro asked the court the for a $10,000.00 bond for each defendant. Shamansky argued for a personal recognizance bond. He noted the Warners had been lifelong residents. He reminded the court that Jason Warner was still a Judge and his wife has been 30 year veteran of the Westerville school district.
Judge Cosgrove took neither side’s suggestion but set bond for each defendant at $15,000.00. She ordered 10% on $10,000.00 of the bond ($1000) and another $5000.00 from each.
“This is the court’s policy on third degree felonies and I’ve done it this way for 28 years.” Cosgrove said.
Cosgrove ordered the Warner’s to have no direct or indirect contact with the victim. She also warned media of protocol in the case. “If we try it, we will try it in a court of law and not the media or the press.”
A telephone pre-trial is scheduled for October 27, 2020 where Cosgrove will receive discovery cut off dates and motions in the case.
Judge Warner has been on a leave of absence from the court since August 3, 2020.