Former sheriff convicted of corruption loses appeal

CANTON, Ohio (AP) - A former Fairfield County sheriff's bid to overturn his public corruption convictions and six-year prison sentence has been denied by the 5th Ohio District Court of Appeals.
The judges on Friday rejected claims by Gary DeMastry and his lawyers that visiting judge Richard Marcus made numerous errors during the trial, admitted improper evidence and improperly sentenced the former sheriff.
A Fairfield County Common Pleas Court jury in Lancaster convicted DeMastry, 48, on Dec. 11, 2001, on 32 counts, including theft in office, engaging in a pattern of corrupt activity and obstruction of justice.
He was accused of misspending nearly $330,000 on items including personal meals, travel and entertainment.
The appellate court chided DeMastry's lawyers, led by William Summers of Cleveland, for arguing that Markus was in his "declining years" and "followed practically whatever the (special prosecutor) wanted him to do."
"Unsupported attacks against the integrity of the judiciary" should not have been raised in the appeal, Judge John Wise wrote in the court's opinion.
DeMastry was indicted in 2000 on 343 charges. To avoid a second trial, DeMastry pleaded guilty one year ago to five theft-related felonies in exchange for the dismissal of the remaining counts and no additional prison time. He did not appeal those convictions.
(Copyright 2003 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)