Appeal filed in Steubenville rape proceeding

STEUBENVILLE – An attorney representing Ma’Lik Richmond has filed an appeal of Richmond’s sexual offender status ruling in connection with the Steubenville rape case.

Richmond was classified as a Tier II sex offender on Aug. 16 by visiting Judge Tom Lipps. Richmond is required to report to the county sheriff where he is living every six months for the next 20 years.

Richmond was convicted in March, along with co-defendant Trent Mays, of raping a female juvenile from Weirton last August.

Mays was sentenced to a minimum of two years in a Department of Youth Services facility. Richmond was sentenced to a minimum of one year in a state youth detention center.

The notice of appeal was filed Friday in juvenile court and then forwarded to the county clerk of courts office in the county courthouse,

The notice of appeal doesn’t contain specifics as to what legal issues are being raised. Those issues will be spelled out in future court filings.

Attorney Brooke Burns of the Ohio Public Defender’s office was the only attorney listed on the notice of appeal for Richmond.

“I will confer with my client as to whether he will grant me permission to share any information about his appeal with news media. If he gives me permission, I will respond further,” Burns said in a e-mailed request for comment.

Attorney Walter Madison represented Richmond throughout his trial and was present during the sexual offender status hearing.

Madison and Burns had filed several motions in advance of the sexual offender hearing, asking that the ruling be delayed. Madison and Burns argued the sexual offender status for juveniles is unconstitutional and that the ruling be made when a juvenile is released from state custody.

But Prosecutor Marianne Hemmeter of the Ohio Attorney General’s Office argued juvenile judges have the discretion in making sexual offender classification rulings, for how long to report and when it can be terminated.

Hemmeter said sex offender reporting requirements were established to protect society.

Lipps overruled all of the motions filed by Madison and Burns prior to proceeding with the sexual offender hearing.

Lipps in June ruled that Mays also is a Tier II sex offender requiring him to report his address to the sheriff of the county where he lives every 180 days for 20 years.

Mays was allowed to go to Paint Creek Lighthouse Youth Center, a privately run facility for juvenile sex offenders. Lipps said the facility has a “superior” program for youth sex offenders.

Lipps can modify or eliminate the sexual offender reporting requirements for Richmond and Mays at a later date.

In another matter, Ohio Attorney General Mike DeWine said Monday at a meeting in Steubenville that no specific date has been set for a special grand jury investigating all aspects of the Steubenville rape case to reconvene. DeWine immediately called for the special grand jury after the March conviction of Mays and Richmond.

The special grand jury was seated on April 15 and has met 10 times since.

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