Misconduct and Intimidation 

The case of former probation officer Jeffrey Kellon continues to intrigue

The case of former probation officer Jeffrey Kellon continues to intrigue. The latest turn came on August 4, when Common Pleas Judge Burt W. Griffin ruled that the Cuyahoga County Prosecutors Office had "engaged in a pattern of misconduct which, intentionally or not, resulted in the intimidation of a defense witness." The witness in question was Jeffrey Kellon's brother, Anthony Kellon, who until earlier this year was an assistant county prosecutor for Cuyahoga County. The allegations of intimidation sprang from several incidents following Anthony Kellon's testimony on his brother's behalf at Jeffrey Kellon's first trial (for a drug charge which ended in acquittal), in December 1999. Griffin's ruling wasn't all positive for Jeffrey Kellon, however. The judge denied a request for a new trial based on the intimidation allegations, since the defense could not prove the issue would have altered the guilty verdict -- on charges of corrupting a minor and possessing a criminal tool -- in Kellon's second trial. Even the mayor's harshest critics can think of something he does well in his official role. Opening public records to the public, however, isn't one of them. And the snail-like pace at which his office responds to public records requests isn't likely to improve anytime soon. Lately, the deluge of requests from the Plain Dealer has people working 'round the clock helping the mayor's one-person public records contingent in the law department. Among the PD's recent requests are copies of every piece of correspondence sent from the mayor to more than one person and all e-mails of every department director and executive staffer. All those press releases and thank-you letters are riveting reading, surely. But what remains to be seen is whether the PD's relentlessness will lead to better access. Right now, it seems to have led only to more photocopying.

After taking repeated beatings on the letters page and over the airwaves for the past couple of weeks, the bigwigs at the Plain Dealer probably wouldn't mind seeing the Joel Rose suicide story run out its course, and soon. Alas, the paper isn't likely to have such luck. Already sniffing around town to tell the story of the story and its aftermath: the Washington Post and Brill's Content.

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