An Ohio ex-pastor who was sentenced to life in prison after being convicted of four counts of child rape will now get a second chance at his trial.
An appeals court said Richard Mick, who was the pastor at Lighthouse Baptist Church before being indicted in several different sexual assault cases involving kids, deserves a new trial because his attorney in the earlier case refused to “participate” in the first one.
The Sixth District Court of Appeals overturned Mick’s conviction, despite the fact that a jury found him guilty of four felony charges of rape and gross sexual imposition.
[Then-attorney K. Ronald] Bailey, in 2016, argued the trial should have been delayed, and Judge Roger Binette held him in contempt of court after Bailey told Binette he was “not participating” in the trial. Bailey eventually served a 30-day sentence in the Erie County jail for the contempt charge…
Mick’s appeal, filed by his new Cleveland-based attorney, Russell Bensing, alleged Bailey’s refusal to participate in the trial violated his right to effective counsel, according to the appeal.
The appeals court agreed with Mick, according to a court opinion written by Judge Thomas Osowik.
It’s true that every accused person in the United States deserves a fair trial, and I don’t necessarily think the appeals court is wrong here, but this problem shouldn’t have occurred in the first place. If an attorney refuses to participate in a trial, for whatever reason, another should be assigned if the defendant requests it.
Mick won a new trial, so he will have a second chance to prove his innocence in connection to these four counts of child sex abuse, but there are other cases against him, as well.
Mick has another pending court case in Erie County Common Pleas Court, where he faces more counts of gross sexual imposition, according to court records. He has a pretrial in that case set for May 16.
It’s unfortunate that the court system failed in this instance, delaying the justice sought by several people who were abused by a person in authority — their pastor — as young kids, but this isn’t the end of this case. There will be another trial, where the jury will have a chance to hold him accountable yet again, and make it stick. I hope they’ll do the right thing.
(Image via NBC24)