A Portsmouth judge has been arrested. The Ohio State Highway Patrol said a trooper arrested Municipal Court Judge Russell D. Kegley late Friday night on Coles Boulevard in Portsmouth. Kegley denies he was doing anything wrong.
“Friday night he was arrested for an OVI (operating a vehicle under the influence), and as far as everything else goes, it’s in court. It’s under investigation,” Lieutenant Douglas Debord, commander of the Portsmouth Post of the OSHP, told the Daily Times. “I can tell you that, as far as Judge Kegley goes, he was polite and respectful the entire time. He did not cause a problem. Both parties (Kegley and the trooper) were professional. The trooper was professional and Judge Kegley was polite and courteous.”
Debord said Kegley was brought back to the post and processed.
“At least as I can tell, he didn’t have any priors or anything,” Debord said. “He was released to another person after he was processed and he was given a court date of (Monday) morning at 8:45.”
Kegley appeared in Portsmouth Municipal Court Monday morning and he entered a not guilty plea, and a pretrial is set for March 13, 2017 at 10 a.m.
Debord said there is a video of the arrest.
“The trooper observed a violation and saw that it was Judge Kegley and it’s just a tough situation,” Debord said. “He immediately recognized him and he (trooper) did his job like we always would.”
Since the incident is under investigation, Kegley wasn’t at liberty to discuss the details surrounding the arrest.
“I can’t talk about this right now, other than to say I didn’t do this,” Kegley said.
Debord said he wanted to clarify why Kegley was not put in jail.
“I think if you check in most cases, on first offense OVI, and even more so, not even if it’s a first offense, if the person is polite during the process, most of the time we release them to a family member or a friend, and give them a summons to court as opposed to locking them up in jail,” Debord said. “In this case that is what the trooper decided to do, release him to a friend after he was processed and charged.”
The Daily Times made a public records request for the video but was told it can take up to 14 days before the request is granted.
Reach Frank Lewis at 740-353-3101, ext. 1928, or on Twitter @franklewis.
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