ELYRIA – The defense attorney for an Elyria man accused of attacking his girlfriend in May has accused Assistant Lorain County Prosecutor Nick Hanek of misconduct.
Anthony Baker wrote in court documents filed Friday that Hanek tried to coerce the victim in the case into testifying against his client, 37-year-old Ramone Christian.
“In a nutshell, Prosecutor shared personal information about Defendant with Victim that had no relevancy to the within matter. He disclosed that Defendant may have recently fathered a child with another woman and shared a letter from a State Agency in support of his claim,” Baker wrote. “Prosecutor told victim that she was in danger and that she should not be blinded by love as she could end up dead, given Defendant’s criminal past. Prosecutor also threatened Victim with criminal charges if she failed to appear and/or changed her statement.”
County Prosecutor Dennis Will denied that Hanek had engaged in misconduct. For instance, he said it’s not uncommon for prosecutors to tell witnesses in criminal cases that they themselves could face prosecution if they change their testimony from what they’ve previously told authorities.
“If you change your story, you could be subject to charges,” Will said.
Will also said that Baker had sent a letter to Hanek insisting that Christian has done nothing wrong and that if the case went to trial, he would file documents accusing Hanek of wrongdoing.
In the letter, a copy of which Baker provided to The Chronicle-Telegram, Baker wrote that his preliminary review suggested that Hanek had violated professional standards for prosecutors and maybe even intimidated a victim, which is a crime.
Baker said Friday the point of his letter was to raise his concerns about how Hanek had handled his conversation with the victim, Valerie Buska, and ask for a plea in the case.
“The victim doesn’t want to go to trial, let’s talk about a plea deal,” he said.
Christian was arrested May 24 by Elyria police after a neighbor called police to report that there was an altercation on the street, Will said.
Baker wrote that when police arrived, Buska told officers “that she had been pushed, kicked and dragged by her hair along the sidewalk.”
A witness told police that he saw Buska punched twice in the head while she was on the ground, Baker wrote.
Although Buska had a disheveled appearance and was crying, the only injury documented by the officer was blood near the tip of one of her fingers, Baker wrote.
When Buska couldn’t make up her mind about filing charges, police did it for her.
She later wrote a letter to prosecutors saying she had been upset because she thought Christian was cheating on her and that she had overreacted, Baker wrote.
“Victim admitted to arguing and being very loud and falling to the ground because of the uneven pavement,” Baker wrote. “She wrote that she told the police that she was OK and that there was no need to file charges; that she made the incident appear more serious than it actually was.”
Will said that if Christian, who was sentenced Friday to five years in prison for violating the terms of his probation in several unrelated cases, including domestic violence cases, believes he’s innocent then he should take the case to trial.
“We can go to trial and he can put on his witnesses and we’ll put on our witnesses and there will be a decision,” Will said.
Contact Brad Dicken at 329-7147 or firstname.lastname@example.org.