Both sides in an appeal involving the conviction of an Oak Harbor woman on 42 counts of animal cruelty argued their case Monday morning before judges with the Ohio Sixth District Court of Appeals.
Leonard Yelsky, attorney for Robin Vess who was found guilty last April of failing to properly feed and care for her horses, argued that his client’s conviction should be overturned because her trial lawyer, Mark Davis, failed to advise her of the possible consequences of not accepting a plea deal. He said the trial was also unfair because one of the prosecution’s witnesses, Karen Miller, allegedly said she had a “vendetta” against Ms. Vess.
“In this particular case there’s no evidence whatsoever that the trial judge knew this,” Mr. Yelsky said. “It could have been earth-shattering.”
Andy Bigler, an assistant Ottawa County prosecutor, insisted Ms. Vess did receive a fair trial. He said there is no evidence, other than Ms. Vess’ own statements, that her trial lawyer provided her with insufficient advice. He also questioned whether Ms. Miller did say she had a “vendetta” against Ms. Vess and argued that this would have been inconsequential to the final outcome of the trial even if she had.
Robin Vess was found guilty in April, 2010, and sentenced in Ottawa County Municipal Court to 42 days in jail, five years probation, and $8,711 in fines and court costs. Those penalties have been stayed pending the outcome of the appeal.
Ms. Vess was not present in court Monday morning. Her lawyer declined comment.