When Timothy and Esten Ciboro go on trial next week on charges they abused and molested children in their home, there will be a comfort dog near the witness stand, law books on the prosecution’s table, and the good book at the defense table.
At a pretrial hearing Friday, Lucas County Common Pleas Judge Linda Jennings agreed to allow the Ciboros to bring their Bibles with them as they act as their own attorneys in the case. But she cautioned them that they wouldn’t be able to use it to question witnesses.
“It’s the court’s opinion that while the Bible is very important, it is not a law book in a court of law,” Judge Jennings said, telling the father and son that all that is relevant during their trial is the evidence.
Esten Ciboro, 28, made the request, saying he believed the Bible was “vital to our defense.”
Calling it “the only law book that truly matters,” Esten told the court, “There’s a great deal of strategy in Scripture and I use those strategies in everything I do. It’s a vital part of everything I do.”
Timothy said it would be like tying their hands behind their back if they can’t “use God’s holy word to ask questions, questions that we believe are absolutely vital to our case.”
The pair has been in jail since May when a 13-year-old girl escaped from their Noble Street home and reported that she had been shackled in the basement on and off for several years. They were subsequently indicted on charges they sexually abused her. Timothy also faces rape charges involving another child.
Although the judge once again reiterated her concerns about the men representing themselves, both insisted they did not want a lawyer. Both have stand-by counsel who will sit behind them at trial, available only for answering any questions they may have.
Father and son also insisted they are prepared for next week’s trial, though Timothy complained that they weren’t allowed as much time together to prepare at the Lucas County jail as he believes was needed.
Jury selection is expected to take all of Monday.
Contact Jennifer Feehan at: firstname.lastname@example.org or 419-213-2134.
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