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Thursday, February 02, 2006

Condemned inmate appeals sentence because of justice's comments

Akron Beacon Journal, OH
Associated Press

ASHLAND, Ohio - A condemned inmate has asked that his death sentence be overturned because of comments made by an Ohio Supreme Court justice when she was arrested for drunken driving.

Maxwell D. White Jr., 40, sentenced to death for the January 1996 shooting of State Highway Patrol Trooper James R. Gross, claims in an appeal filed in Ashland County Common Pleas Court that the comments show Justice Alice Robie Resnick is biased.

During her arrest in January 2005 near Bowling Green, Resnick told state troopers, "Don't you know I decide all these cases in your favor and look at what you're doing to me," according to the transcript of the video taken from a patrol dashboard camera.

Resnick has concurred with Ohio Supreme Court decisions upholding White's conviction and death sentence.

"Justice Resnick's statement suggests that her decisions to affirm Mr. White's conviction including her independent assessment to uphold Mr. White's death sentence was influenced by her own judicial bias or that she at least had an interest in the outcome of the case," White's attorney, Michael J. Benza, wrote in the appeal filed Monday.


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