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Tuesday, October 23rd, 2012

Judge rejects Wine's Jamaica plans

By Shelley Grieshop
ST. MARYS - A local judge on Monday halted travel plans for convicted sex offender Douglas Wine who sought a job in Jamaica.
Auglaize County Common Pleas Court Judge Frederick Pepple set a personal bond with conditions that prevent the 52-year-old former optometrist from leaving Ohio. In court documents, Wine's attorney, Lorin Zaner, said his client has struggled to find work since his optometry license was revoked in April.
Zaner seemed pleased with the permission granted.
"I can understand the court's reluctance with Jamaica," he said.
Pepple returned a quick smile before responding sarcastically, "You think?"
Wine also sought travel privileges to West Virginia for a second job offer; the judge said he'd consider it if given more details. Pepple did give Wine permission to travel to Lake Cumberland, Ky., from Friday through Oct. 30 to winterize his house boat. County prosecutor Ed Pierce did not object.
Conditions of the bond also require Wine to have no contact with the elderly female relative he assaulted in his St. Marys home in 2009 or her husband. He also must contact his attorney weekly and check in at the county sheriff's office, in person, each week.
Pepple explained that Monday's bond hearing was needed to establish conditions prior to Wine's sentencing for sexual imposition, a third-degree misdemeanor. A sentence hearing date has not been set. Wine faces 60 days in jail and a $500 fine.
Also pending in the local court is a motion by Zaner to vacate and set aside the sentence and conviction based on poor representation by Wine's trial attorney, Ritchie Hollenbaugh.
Pepple admitted he's not certain which pending issue to address first.
"I'm not sure which comes first ... the chicken or the egg," he told Zaner and Pierce.
Zaner asked Pepple why he hasn't set a court date for either issue. The judge said he'd rather wait; his rulings could be overturned by an opinion handed down by the Ohio Supreme Court, which is considering whether to accept the Wine case for review.
"It makes sense to me to just set bond today," Pepple said. "Procedurally, I believe I'm where I need to be."
Zaner appealed the case to the high court one month ago. In an emergency motion last week, he asked the justices to amend a Third District Court of Appeals bond that revoked Wine's passport. He also sought to nix all future proceedings in the local court - including Monday's bond hearing - while justices review the case.
Pierce objected to the motion, primarily noting the appeals court bond was terminated in June. He also argued that Wine could not comply with mandated reporting requirements as a convicted Tier 1 sex offender if he traveled to Jamaica.
The high court on Friday denied Zaner's motion.
Wine was indicted in February 2011 for rape but was found guilty of a felony charge of gross sexual imposition by jurors eight months later. He was sentenced in December to 15 months in prison and classified a Tier 1 sex offender.
Zaner in January appealed the case to the Third District court, which in February released Wine from prison. In June, the Lima court reduced the charge from a felony to a third-degree misdemeanor and remanded the case back to Auglaize County for sentencing.
The high court isn't expected to accept or dismiss the case for several weeks. If it accepts the case, it likely could take months before an opinion is announced.
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