Senator David Williams Calls for Inquiry over District Judge Popovich’s release of two accused felons when Dept. of Public Advocacy won’t represent them. DPA funding issue heats up.
By LawReader Associate Editor Steve Horner Aug. 23, 2008
State Senate Pres. David Williams (D-Burkesville) is calling for a probe to sanction a Campbell District Judge who released two defendants on Aug. 14 because they did not receive preliminary hearings pursuant to law. Judge Gregory Popovich was unable to hold preliminary hearings for the two defendants because the Department of Public Advocacy said that it could no longer add to its swelling Campbell County caseload because of budget cutbacks.
“I am releasing someone charged with attempted murder in a drug deal, a drug war where the other person allegedly started the war,” Popovich said from the bench, according to a story by The Cincinnati Enquirer’s Kevin Kelly posted on Aug. 15 at the newspaper’s nky.com. “I’m releasing them into our streets. Please be careful. Hope that nobody else gets hurt. But remember the fight is between the public advocacy office and the state Senate who don’t seem to care enough to protect us. They should put that stuff aside and protect us.” Popovich added the following: “If I were to ignore that 10-day rule then we’ve got Guantanamo Bay. We’d never have counsel. I could keep them in jail forever and they’d never have a trial because we can’t take them to trial without counsel.” Popovich’s remarks drew very heavy fire in a prepared statement by Williams as covered by the newspaper’s chief political reporter, Patrick Crowley, in a story posted about 3pm on Aug. 15. Williams’ statement read in part as follows: “The fundamental duty of the Judiciary is to protect public safety. It is incomprehensible that Judge Popovich would release an individual who he acknowledges is dangerous because of his failure to conduct a timely preliminary hearing…The judge has at his disposal the statutory authority to protect the public and a full investigation should be conducted by the Judicial Removal and Retirement Commission as to his rash actions disregarding the public safety and his bizarre explanation thereof.” Williams is not related to former state Highway Commissioner Marc Williams.