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0000017a-3b40-d913-abfe-bf44a4f90000Howard Wilkinson joined the WVXU news team as the politics reporter and columnist in April 2012 , after 30 years of covering local, state and national politics for The Cincinnati Enquirer. On this page, you will find his weekly column, Politically Speaking; the Monday morning political chats with News Director Maryanne Zeleznik and other news coverage by Wilkinson. A native of Dayton, Ohio, Wilkinson has covered every Ohio gubernatorial race since 1974, as well as 16 presidential nominating conventions. Along with politics, Wilkinson also covered the 2001 Cincinnati race riots, the Lucasville prison riot in 1993, the Air Canada plane crash at Cincinnati/Northern Kentucky International Airport in 1983, and the 1997 Ohio River flooding. And, given his passion for baseball, you might even find some stories about the Cincinnati Reds here from time to time.

Madisonville woman imprisoned in vote fraud case released

Ann Thompson
Melowese Richardson

Melowese Richardson, sentenced to five years in prison last summer on four counts of illegal voting, has been released from prison due to her mental condition, according to her lawyer.

Tuesday morning, Hamilton County Common Pleas Court Judge Robert Ruehlman ordered the Madisonville woman released from prison and placed her on five years of probation.

Hamilton County prosecutor Joseph T. Deters agreed to the new sentence.

Richardson’s lawyer, David Singleton of the Ohio Justice and Policy Center said that Richardson’s medical records show that she suffers from bipolar disorder, a condition that causes abnormal swings in mood and activity.

In a press release, Singleton said Richardson, a former poll worker at a Madisonville polling place, did not want her medical condition disclosed at the time of her sentencing, but gave him permission to disclose her mental health status now.

She was convicted on charging of casting ballots for other persons.

“Justice was done in this case today,’’ Singleton said in a news release. “We are grateful to prosecuting attorney Joe Deters for stepping up to ask the judge to release Melowese in light of the new information. We are thankful to Judge Ruehlman for re-visiting his sentence and placing Ms. Richardson on probation.”

Singleton said he brought the information on Richardson’s condition to Deters and said the prosecutor “thought the county had not gotten the sentence right.”

Deters issued his own press release Tuesday saying it was the right thing to do.

“In the interest of justice, it is time for her to go home,’’ Deters said.

Howard Wilkinson is in his 50th year of covering politics on the local, state and national levels.