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Published: 12/14/2006

Ex-Buckeye Clarett moved to Toledo prison

BY TOM HENRY
BLADE STAFF WRITER

Former Ohio State University tailback Maurice Clarett was transferred yesterday to the Toledo Correctional Institution, where he potentially could serve out the remainder of his prison sentence for robbery and weapons convictions.

Andrea Dean, spokesman for the Ohio Department of Rehabilitation and Correction, said the length of time he serves in the North Toledo prison depends on whether he is reclassified during his incarceration.

He is now a Level 3 inmate, meaning he requires close security. The department is not allowed to reveal dates in which inmates could be reclassified for security reasons. Such assessments typically occur months apart and take in account behavior, prison job performance, age, circumstances surrounding an inmate's conviction, and other issues, she said.

Clarett, who ran for the winning touchdown in OSU's 2002 national championship game against the University of Miami Hurricanes in January, 2003, was transferred to one of the state's newer Level 3 prisons. The Toledo Correctional Institution, 2001 East Central Ave., opened in 2000 and has an inmate population of 1,090.

Clarett, 22, was sentenced to 7 1/2 years in prison on Sept. 18 after his attorneys negotiated a deal for him to enter guilty pleas on aggravated robbery and weapons charges.

Franklin County Common Pleas Judge David W. Fais left open the possibility of Clarett being paroled after serving 3 1/2 years of the sentence.

Clarett was sentenced to up to six years for aggravated robbery with a gun specification stemming from an incident in Columbus on New Year's Day. The judge imposed up to 18 additional months for illegally carrying a concealed firearm during an Aug. 9 police chase.

Police found four loaded guns in his sport utility vehicle after that chase, which ended when spikes were deployed along I-70. One of the guns they found was believed to have been used in the New Year's Day robbery.

One of Clarett's attorneys, Michael Hoague, said after the September sentencing Clarett preferred a prison where he could work out and train to keep alive his dream of someday playing professional football.

But Ms. Dean said Clarett's desire did not factor into the decision to send him to Toledo.

"We don't allow inmates to decide where they want to go," she said, adding that the Toledo institution's recreational amenities are similar to those at other state prisons, and that Clarett will not have special privileges.

"He won't be participating in any special workout regime or schedule. Maurice isn't getting any special attention," she said.

Ms. Dean said the attorney's stated preference wasn't relayed to the correction department. It "wouldn't have been honored" if it had been, she said.

Clarett was drafted by the Denver Broncos in 2005, but was cut without ever having played a game. Just prior to his arrest, he was planning to be on an arena football team called the Mahoning Valley HitMen, which plays near his hometown of Youngstown.

The team's head coach has said a roster spot will be kept open for him.

Clarett is to serve five years of probation once he's released.

Contact Tom Henry at:

thenry@theblade.com

or 419-724-6079.



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