Several motions have been filed in the criminal case of a former Delaware Municipal Court Judge accused of tampering with evidence and theft.
Michael C. Hoague, 62, of 17 Carriage Drive, Delaware is currently scheduled to stand trial on July 25 to face two counts of tampering with evidence, third-degree felonies and two counts of theft, fifth-degree felonies.
According to the court records, the charges center around Hoague allegedly filing paperwork while acting as a public defender in 2013 during two criminal cases for a man named Timothy Hamon. Prosecutors alleged Hoague signed a certification during the case asking to be paid by State’s Public Defender Office without disclosing that he had been paid by Hamon’s family, thus “double dipping.”
The tampering charges deals with Hoague filing the paperwork and the theft charges are for the money Hoague allegedly received from the defendant’s family.
Hoague pleaded not guilty to these charges at his arraignment on April 3, where he was represented by local attorney Robert Owens. After the hearing Hoague and Owens filed a motion for a pretrial hearing to address specific legal issues that will be central to the trial.
On April 21, Assistant Ohio Attorney General, Brad L. Tammaro, filed a motion asking the judge presiding over the case, James A. Brogan, a retired judge from the Second Circuit Court of Appeals, to deny Hoague’s motion.
In his motion, Tammaro notes that Hoague filing motions, along with Owens, effectively means he is acting as co-counsel in his own case and states that Ohio law does not allow this.
“The Defendant cannot have it both ways under Ohio Law,” Tammaro wrote. “Either Defendant Hoague presents [himself] or he is represented by counsel. In light of the Defendant’s actions, the State would object and request the Court to clarify that the Defendant fully understands that he has no right to sign pleadings and act as co-counsel in this matter as the case proceeds.”
In Hoague’s motion for a pretrial hearing he presented an outline of the case from his perspective and argued that prosecutors have misunderstood the facts of the case.
Tammaro also discussed Hoague’s presentation of facts and said he is attempting to use interpretation of legal documents to portray the case in a way that would exonerate him.
“Defendant’s factual scenario leaves out several key elements that lead to the conclusion that Defendant’s tortured interpretation is not proper…” Tammaro said. “…Defendant Hoague wishes this Court to ignore the factual background of his actual actions and place its ‘stamp of approval’ on a twisted interpretation of the plain language of the Certifications he signed and submitted to the trial court when he asked to be paid a specific amount of money as a public defender.”
Tammaro alleges that before being paid by the State, Hoague was paid at least $4,500 by Hamon’s family.
A general pretrial hearing in the case is scheduled for May 5 at 10 a.m. but the hearing requested by Hoague and Owens has not been ruled on.
At the arraignment, it was stated that Hoague could face up to 36 months in prison for the tampering with evidence charges and up to a year in prison for the theft charges.
Hoague has not commented publicly on the charges.
Hoague was disciplined by the Ohio Supreme Court’s Office of Disciplinary Counsel in 2003 as a judge for “conviction of coercion, misconduct as a judge, acting in the manner that does not promote public confidence in the integrity and impartiality of the judiciary and misusing authority of judicial office to achieve the personal goal of reprimanding persons believed guilty of reckless driving.”
According to the disciplinary record, Hoague observed a vehicle driving recklessly on US 23. He wrote the owner of the vehicle a letter stating, “This is a serious matter deserving your immediate attention.”
Hoague ordered the two to appear in his courtroom where he conducted the matter in what the disciplinary record called “an arrogant inquisition.”
Hoague was a municipal court judge in Delaware from January 1996-December 2001. He did not seek re-election when his term expired.
Glenn Battishill can be reached at 740-413-0903 or on Twitter @BattishillDG.