Few courtroom dramas in Northeast Ohio have rollercoastered as erratically as Lorain County's infamous “Head Start case.” In the mid-'90s, Nancy Smith and Joseph Allen were tried, convicted, and sentenced for molesting a pack of four- and five-year-olds in Lorain. The salacious case drew attention far and wide, not least because the prosecution’s argument sagged under accusations of misrepresentation and inaccuracy. Many observers were quick to charge the pair had been railroaded.
Through some surprise legal left turns that could have come straight out of an hour-long TV drama, the pair was released from prison in 2009, a happy ray of sunshine capping a long legal nightmare.
The story zig-zagged again Thursday when the Ohio Supreme Court ruled that Smith and Allen must head back to prison.