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Toledoan whose convictions were undone sues Perrysburg, Perrysburg Township

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Shavell Johnson was convicted in Perrysburg Municipal Court in 2013 for violating a restraining order and sentenced to 540 days in jail.

The Blade
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A Toledo resident who served 1½ years in jail before the Ohio 6th District Court of Appeals vacated his 18 convictions for violating a protection order is now suing Perrysburg Township, a police detective, the city of Perrysburg, and the Perrysburg prosecutor.

Shavell Johnson, in a lawsuit filed last month U.S. District Court in Toledo, contends that authorities violated his constitutional rights to the pursuit of happiness and liberty and he is asking for unspecified money damages.

“We think he should be compensated for his loss of freedom,” said Jerry Purcel, a Toledo attorney representing Mr. Johnson. “One day of freedom means a lot to me... He did not break a law.”

Mr. Johnson was found guilty by a jury on Jan. 9, 2013 in Perrysburg Municipal Court for calling and texting his children’s mother on Sept. 24, 2012 when the woman had a restraining order against him. Each call and text was a separate count of violating the protection order, according to the judge. The convictions were first degree misdemeanors. He was sentenced to 540 days, and served all of them in Wood County Jail.

Those convictions, however, were vacated in June by the appellate court, which said Mr. Johnson proved he didn’t receive a full protection order notice until December, 2012, after the alleged violations occurred.

In arguing to retain the convictions before the appellate court, the state said Mr. Johnson was aware that full court hearings on the protection order were upcoming and that his subsequent acts demonstrated “a reckless disregard” of those probable orders, court documents state.

Mr. Johnson had been served with an order to have no contact with a Perrysburg Township woman after she accused him of pushing her on one occasion and choking and hitting her on another occasion in 2011.

Perrysburg Township patrolmen Dustin Glass, who was the reporting officer on the case that led to the convictions, and Perrysburg Prosecutor Martin Aubry were named as defendants in the lawsuit. The township and city of Perrysburg, which employs the prosecutor, were named as defendants in the lawsuit.

Jane Lynch, an attorney from Dayton representing Perrysburg Township, has not returned phone calls to The Blade. Perrysburg Township officials, Mr. Aubry, and Perrysburg Law Director Mathew Beredo had no comment on the lawsuit.

The township trustees this week met in executive session to discuss the litigation but took no action in public afterward.

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