The 11th District Court of Appeals in Warren has scheduled oral arguments for May 1 in the appeal of Lucie Thompson, who was convicted May 23 of animal cruelty and had more then three dozen animals taken from her on Nov. 17 and 20 of 2017.
Thompson was put on 1 year probation by Trumbull County Central District Court Judge Thomas Campbell, who found her guilty at trial. She is seeking to have the conviction overturned and to get her animals back.
Animal Welfare League of Trumbull County investigated claims of abuse at Thompson’s home at 7119 Warren Sharon Road, Brookfield. A human agent received a search warrant to check on two horses that were kept in an open, outdoor pen, and ended up finding a menagerie that included a pot-bellied pig, a dog, two ducks and 34 chickens.
Thompson’s attorney, Michela Huth, attacked the conviction and seizure of the animals on several fronts. She said Campbell lacked jurisdiction to handle any matters in the case because Brookfield is not in the central district, which is based in Cortland.
Brookfield is in the coverage area of Trumbull County Eastern District Court, whose office is in Brookfield. Rob Platt, who was the eastern district judge at the time of the investigation and prosecution, recused himself from the case because he is law partners with Thompson’s trial attorney, George Gessner, prosecutors said. Huth said the Ohio Supreme Court should have appointed a judge to replace Platt.
Eastern District Court Prosecutor Deena Devico said in her answer to the appeal brief that eastern and central district courts are “one, single court jurisdiction,” making the transfer to the central district proper.
Huth also called Gessner ineffective and said that he nodded off during trial, did not view a video shot by Thompson’s son that showed two chickens being killed during the seizure, and didn’t object to testimony when he should have, such as the testimony of Dr. Suzanne Wilcox, Huth said. Thompson used to take animals to Wilcox for veterinary care and was not pleased with the treatment they received, Huth said.
The prosecution responded that Thompson failed to show that Gessner’s actions were “unreasonable” or that the outcome of the case would have been different.