Commissioner hinting towards action over jail

By Wayne Allen

July 30, 2014

By Wayne Allen


While the Scioto County Commissioners are still weighing their options when it comes to reacting to the possibility of Lawrence County opening a jail in Scioto County, one commissioner thinks it would be irresponsible for the county not to take action.

The Lawrence County Commissioners have been working with the state of Ohio to reopen the Liberation Unit of the Ohio River Valley Juvenile Correctional Facility in Franklin Furnace as a jail. The Scioto County Commissioners, along with other county officials, have made it known they are not pleased with the decision. In response, the Scioto County Commissioners have sought the advice of Scioto County Prosecutor Mark Kuhn and his staff on how to respond.

When asked about Scioto County’s options on dealing with proposed Lawrence County Jail, Mike Crabtree, Chairman of the Scioto County Commissioners said, “You got two options, one is do nothing, or two: file some kind of court action.”

Crabtree things if legal action is taken it would be filed in a Scioto County Court.

“If you commit a crime in a particular county, don’t you have to go to court in that county? If you get a speeding ticket in a county you have to go to that county to pay it,” Crabtree said. “That’s my assumption, maybe I’m wrong, but I would say they would either have to do it that way or maybe in federal court. If it’s a constitutional violation it may have to go to the Supreme Court.”

Crabtree said the commissioners are not going to decide what action to taken until they hear from Kuhn about the best route to take. When asked if not doing anything was an option, Crabtree said, “personally I think there will be some kind of an action taken. What it exactly that is I really could not tell you. I think to do nothing would be irresponsible on the part of the county.”

This is not the first time Lawrence County and Scioto County officials have clashed over an issue.

Both the Scioto and Lawrence County Commissioners are involved in the ongoing dispute between the Lawrence Scioto Solid Waste Management District (LSSWMD) and the Ironton Lawrence County Community Action Organization (CAO) and vehicles that were once driven by the LSSWMD staff.

It has been over a year since LSSWMD cut ties with the CAO. Caught in the middle of what appears to be a messy divorce between the two organizations is the question of who owns vehicles that the staff of the LSSWMD were driving at the time of separation. The vehicles include a 2008 GMC Savana Pass Van 3500, a 2006 GMC Envoy, a Leonard open-utility trailer, a 2008 Pontiac G6, and a 2012 Chevrolet Equinox.

“The conflict is the fact they are not only on the solid waste board, but two of them (Lawrence County Commissioners) are on the CAO board as well,” Crabtree said. “That’s where the conflict lies. I don’t know how that’s going to turn out either, but it seems to me like it’s gone on to long.”

Crabtree also serves as the chairman of the LSSWMD Board.

That issue is scheduled for a jury trial in Lawrence County in November. Crabtree did not give a timeline in which a decision would be made on what action to take about the proposed Lawrence County Jail.

Wayne Allen can be reached at 740-353-3101, ext. 1933 or on Twitter @WayneallenPDT.