An attempt to move Kenny Richey from death row to the Putnam County jail failed yesterday after the state rejected a request by Richey's attorney for the transfer.
The attorney, Ken Parsigian, of Goodwin Procter in Boston, said he will file a court petition Monday in an effort to nullify yesterday's decision, which was spelled out in a letter written to Mr. Parsigian by Michael Collyer, an assistant state attorney general.
On Jan. 25, the U.S. 6th Circuit Court of Appeals overturned Richey's conviction in the 1986 death by fire of 2-year-old Cynthia Collins, of Columbus Grove, Ohio. On June 3, a U.S. District Court judge in Cleveland, acting on the appellate court decision, ordered the state to retry Richey within 90 days or set him free.
Since that ruling, Mr. Parsigian has been trying to get Richey transferred to Putnam County, where he was first tried 19 years ago.
In his letter on Thursday to Margaret Bradshaw, warden of the Mansfield Correctional Institution, Mr. Parsigian argued that under Ohio law once a conviction has been overturned and the state is considering whether to retry the prisoner, the inmate should be moved to the jail in the jurisdiction where a new trial might take place.
"Nearly three weeks have passed since .●.●.the order, and Mr. Richey still has not been transferred," Mr. Parsigian wrote.
But in his response, Mr. Collyer argued that Mr. Parsigian misinterpreted the state's procedure in such matters and that the federal court does not have the authority to transfer a prisoner from one facility to another.
Additionally, Mr. Parsigian has been arguing that under the ruling by the judge in Cleveland, the state has 90 days in which to complete its retrial of the 41-year-old Richey, should it decided to do so, or release him.
Mr. Collyer argued that the 90-day deadline is flexible.
"The federal court may extend the time period for retrial if good cause for the delay is shown, the delay is brief, and the delay will not prejudice the petitioner's ability to present a defense at the new proceeding," Mr. Collyer wrote to Mr. Parsigian.
State officials have said the 90-day deadline is not realistic and that they believe if they begin pretrial proceedings, the deadline will be extended.
Mr. Parsigian has said he will challenge that theory in court as well.
The impasse between the Richey camp and the state will become more settled on Thursday when Putnam County Prosecutor Gary Lammers will announce whether he will order Richey to stand trial again. If he declines to do so, Richey could be released in about seven days if Mr. Lammers takes the appropriate steps, prison officials said.
Otherwise, Mr. Parsigian said he will continue his fight to get Richey moved to Putnam County and to resolve the court-mandated deadline issue. The deadline expires Sept. 3.
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