The sentencing hearing for a former municipal court judge who was found guilty of tampering with evidence and theft has been continued to Thursday, Dec. 21.
Michael C. Hoague was found guilty Nov. 17 on one count of tampering with evidence, a third-degree felony, and one count of theft, a fifth-degree felony. A sentencing hearing for Hoague was scheduled for Dec. 20 at 11 a.m., but on Dec. 19 the hearing was delayed to Dec. 21 at 10 a.m.
On Dec. 8, Hoague’s attorneys, Ian N. Friedman and Mark R. Devan, filed a motion for acquittal on the two charges, arguing that the state failed to offer evidence of deception and that the state failed to unequivocally prove that Hoague intended to defraud anyone, which is an essential element of the tampering with records charge, they said.
Last Friday, Assistant Attorney General Brad L. Tammaro, responded to the motion and stood by the evidence in the case, arguing that it was sufficient for a conviction.
“Evidence at trial demonstrated that when the defendant signed and submitted the falsified [public defender payment paperwork] he obviously knew that it would result in the payment of public funds since it was a required submission to receive payment,” Tammaro said.
The judge presiding over the case, visiting Judge James A. Brogan, a retired Second Circuit Court of Appeals Judge, has not ruled on the motions yet.
The charges against Hoague stem from a 2012 case in which he was hired by a family to defend their son who was charged with gross sexual imposition and rape in Delaware County Common Pleas Court. Hoague was later appointed to the case as a public defender and at the conclusion of the case Hoague filed paperwork asking to be paid as a public defender for his work on the case. Prosecutors said Hoague was paid for his work on the case both by the family and by the State of Ohio, which they argued was tampering with evidence and theft by deception.
Hoague was originally charged with another count of tampering with evidence and another count of theft, but those charges were dismissed during the trial.
The tampering with evidence charge is a third-degree felony and carries a penalty of 9 to 36 months in prison or a fine not to exceed $10,000, according to the Ohio Revised Code. The theft charge is a fifth-degree felony and carries a penalty of 6 to 12 months in prison or a fine not to exceed $2,500, according to the ORC.
Contact Glenn Battishill at 740-413-0903 or on Twitter @BattishillDG.