A former Lucas County dog pound worker who was acquitted on an animal cruelty charge should not have been found guilty of a probation violation for an unrelated case just because he was arrested on the new charge, an appeals court ruled Friday.
The Sixth District Court of Appeals said Toledo Municipal Court Judge Robert Christiansen should have held a hearing to determine whether Aaron Nova had violated probation for a domestic violence conviction before ordering him to serve six months in jail for violating the terms of his probation, which said he must obey all laws.
“Numerous Ohio courts have agreed with the proposition that merely being charged with a crime is not sufficient to show a violation of probation,” the appeals court wrote in its decision. The court ordered the case sent back to municipal court for a probation violation hearing.
Mr. Nova’s attorney, Jerry Phillips, said the appeals court affirmed what he had argued in municipal court.
“It follows the law,” he said of the appeals decision. “It’s what the law is, has been, and, in my opinion, will be.
“It makes sense that if you’re going to find somebody in violation of probation, you must give them a hearing,” Mr. Phillips said. “The judge wouldn’t give us a hearing.”
Mr. Phillips said his client spent 24 days in jail before the appeals court permitted him to be released on bond pending the outcome of the appeal.
Mr. Nova, 27, of Lake Township was acquitted of an animal cruelty charge Jan. 15 midway through his trial in Toledo Municipal Court. He had been accused of putting a dog in a chokehold and then throwing it against a kennel.
Judge Timothy Kuhlman ruled that prosecutors had not presented sufficient evidence to support the charge.