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Politics

Ohio AG Asks Appeals Court To Reconsider Decision In Peter Beck Case

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Ohio House of Representatives website
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Former State Rep. Peter Beck

UPDATE, 12/29: 

Former state representative Peter Beck has been released from prison, but the Ohio Attorney General's office wants the Ohio First District Court of Appeals to reconsider the decision that ended Beck's incarceration. 

The appeals court had thrown out 10 of the 13 criminal counts Beck was convicted of in August 15 and sent the case back to Hamilton County Common Pleas Court. Last week, Judge Thomas Heekin ordered Beck released from prison after serving 16 months of a four-year sentence. 

Beck's lawyer, Pierre Bergeron, said he will oppose the Ohio Attorney General's request. If the appeals court turns down the prosecution's request, the Ohio Attorney General could try to get the Ohio Supreme Court to hear the case. 

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Former state representative Peter Beck will be released from prison early, just in time for Christmas.

Hamilton County Common Pleas Court Judge Thomas Heekin ruled Thursday morning in favor of Beck's motion to have his four-year prison sentence reduced to his time served, which is 16 months. Beck has been in a southeast Ohio prison since his sentencing in August 2015 on 13 felony counts.

Beck's lawyer, Pierre Bergeron, said he expects to have his client released from prison by late Thursday or on Friday.

He was tried last year on charges filed by the Ohio Attorney General's office saying that Beck was part of a scheme to defraud investors in a computer software company called Christopher Technologies, or C-Tech. Last week, the Ohio First District Court of Appeals threw out 10 of the 13 counts, leaving only the convictions on three charges of theft. 

The charges thrown out by a three-judge panel of the appeals court included seven counts of perjury and three counts of securities violations. The appeals court sent the case back to the trial court. However, John West, the common pleas court judge who found Beck guilty in June 2015, has since retired and his docket went to Heekin.

In his order Thursday morning, Heekin agreed to allow the 64-year-old Beck, a former state lawmaker and Mason mayor, out of prison provided he have no contact with the alleged victims. He was also ordered to surrender his passport – something he has already done. That was a condition Judge West placed when Beck was sentenced.

Lawyers for the Ohio Attorney General's office have until late January to decide whether or not to ask the Ohio Supreme Court to review the case or ask the First District Court of Appeals to reconsider.  The prosecution has not indicated yet what, if anything, it intends to do to pursue the case.

Bergeron said he is in the process of getting Heekin's order to officials at the Hocking Correctional Facility near Nelsonville in southeast Ohio so they can prepare his client for release.