Wednesday, December 06, 2000

County ponders settling arrest suit

The Cincinnati Enquirer

        Hamilton County commissioners will consider settling a lawsuit today that would cost taxpayers $150,000, plus attorney's fees, and end the practice of municipal court issuing felony arrest warrants on the signature of an attorney.

        For years, municipal court would issue arrest warrants based solely on a letter, signed by an attorney, stating that a crime had been committed. There needed be no finding of probable cause.

        Attorney Scott Greenwood brought suit against the county in 1997 and 1999, alleging the practice unconstitutional.

        “The vast majority of these cases were garden va riety disputes, almost all of which could be resolved through family relations court,” Mr. Greenwood said.

        Hamilton County officials were unavailable for comment Tuesday night.

        One of the two suits brought by Mr. Greenwood involved an Anderson Township couple, Bob Haas and Linda Linde, who were rousted from bed in the middle of the night in 1997 by the sheriff's SWAT team.

        Ms. Linde did not return her children to her ex-husband, who then got his attorney's signature alleging kidnapping.

        Mr. Greenwood said the most important aspect of the settlement, if approved by county commissioners, would be putting an end to the practice.


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