Archive for January, 2011

NCRJ Press Release on the Smith/Allen Decision

Monday, January 31st, 2011

National Center for Reason and Justice

January 30, 2011



Robert B. Chatelle

Executive Director, National Center for Reason and Justice

In Unheard of Move, Court Rules to Imprison Defendants Who Were Previously Acquitted

New York, NY—January 30, 2011

In an unprecedented and unconstitutional move, an American court has ruled to send two people to prison even though they were previously acquitted.

The move has sparked outrage among supporters of the defendants, including the National Center for Reason and Justice, a legal and advisory group for the falsely accused and wrongfully convicted.

Joseph Allen and Nancy Smith were convicted of child sex-abuse in 1994 in Ohio. As in other cases during the moral panic of the 80s and 90s, the evidence against these two defendants was inherently unreliable. It included the testimony of small children who had been improperly and coercively interviewed.

Virtually all other victims of the child sex-abuse panic, such as the McMartins, Kelly Michaels, and Bernard Baran, were acquitted or freed sometimes years or even decades later on appeal, when common sense began to override irrational panic. But Smith and Allen remained in prison until 2009. During a hearing that year on a procedural matter, a judge ordered them acquitted due to lack of evidence. (For more information see

But on January 27th, 2011, the Ohio Supreme Court ruled that the judge who acquitted them lacked the authority to do so. The court reinstated the dubious convictions and ordered Smith and Allen back to prison.

We know of no other instance in American law where a Court has attempted to imprison the acquitted —.a blatant infringement of Constitutional protection against double jeopardy, as well as the constitutional principle of Due Process of Law.

The NCRJ has sponsored Nancy Smith’s and Joseph Allen’s cases for years, and we firmly believe in their innocence. They will continue to have our full support. We will fight for them until justice is achieved.

Please Attend Smith/Allen Hearing if You Can

Saturday, January 29th, 2011

Dear Friend of Justice,

I just spoke with Joseph Allen. A hearing has been scheduled in Lorain, Ohio on February 8th. The lawyers want as many supporters as possible to attend. If you can attend, please let me know and I will pass on the information.

By Monday, we should know the time of the hearing and the courtroom. I will post that information when I have it.

-Bob Chatelle

More News Articles About the Smith/Allen Tragedy

Friday, January 28th, 2011

Sometimes the News is so Awful…

Thursday, January 27th, 2011

That I am left speechless.


Hopeful Note About the Smith/Allen Case

Tuesday, January 4th, 2011

Dear Friend of Justice,

I came across this hopeful note about the Joseph Allen/Nancy Smith case.

Here is the relevant excerpt:

Good news for Nancy Smith and Joseph Allen.  As I wrote back in 2009, their 1994 convictions for child sexual molestation were tossed out, albeit under unusual circumstances:  fifteen years after they were convicted and sentenced to life in prison, the judge — different from the one who presided over their trial — granted a Rule 29(C) motion for acquittal.  The fact that the rule provides a fourteen-day, rather than fifteen-year, period for filing such a motion was rendered irrelevant by the fact that the defense hadn’t even filed one.

I didn’t hold out too much hope for that being sustained on appeal, but the Supreme Court’s decision last week in State v. Ross might change that.  Ross similarly involved a 29(C) motion.  Although it was timely filed, it was originally denied; after various Federal court proceedings, the defense “renewed” their motion three years later, and the trial court reconsidered and granted it.  The State appealed, asserting that since the renewed motion was filed outside the time limit, the trial court lacked jurisdiction to grant it.  The 9th District rejected that contention, holding that the initial denial was an interlocutory order, subject to reconsideration at any time.  The Supreme Court wasn’t buying either argument:  the time limit was procedural, not jurisdictional, but the “renewed” motion should have been treated as a new motion and, since it was filed well after the deadline, should have been denied.  But the State’s right of appeal in a criminal case is limited to those situations defined in RC 2945.67, and the section does not permit appeal from a final verdict of acquittal.  That includes a 29(C) ruling, says the court, so the ruling in Ross stands.  Given the language of the opinion, it’s difficult to see how a different result would be reached in the cases of Smith and Allen.

While  Courts are almost impossible to predict, I hope that Mr. Bensing is correct.

-Bob Chatelle