Court refuses to bar prosecutor from Danny Lee Hill appeal - WFMJ.com News weather sports for Youngstown-Warren Ohio

Court refuses to bar prosecutor from Danny Lee Hill appeal

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WARREN, Ohio -

The Trumbull County Prosecutor will not be disqualified from taking part in the appeal process of a man sentenced to death for torturing, raping and murdering a Warren Boy Scout.

The 11th District Court of Appeals on Monday denied a motion filed by the attorney representing Danny Lee Hill,who has been on Ohio's Death Row since he was convicted of committing the crimes against Raymond Fife in 1985.

Hill's attorneys asked the judges to disqualify the prosecutor's office from participating in Hill's appeal of Judge Patricia Cosgrove's 2016 denial of a motion for a new trial over what the defense contends is “newly discovered” bite mark evidence.

Hill's motion is based in part on allegations of a conflict of interest because Hill's former trial attorney was hired by the Trumbull County Prosecutor's office in 2013, and that the mother of Raymond Fife, Miriam Fife, was once employed by the prosecutor's office as a victim's advocate.

The defense also claimed that that the prosecutor's office has been “antagonistic and hostile” toward Hill and his attorneys.

Although Hill's defense attorney said there was an “appearance of impropriety”, the court found that no evidence has been submitted to prove improprieties actually existed.

In addition, the court said that Hill's former attorney had not represented Hill in more 25 years when he got the job with the prosecutor, and as a part time employee in the child support division, had no input in any felony case.

On the matter of the victim's mother working for the prosecutor's office, the court wrote, “The fact that the State of Ohio shares the same belief in Hill's guilt as does Miriam Fife is wholly unremarkable. The State's purportedly disrespectful comments contained in 'recent pleadings' raise no inference of impropriety, prejudice or inability of the prosecutor's office to prosecute the present appeal.”

Although the appeals court denied the motion to disqualify the prosecutor from participating, the judges have yet to decide the original issue, which is Hill's appeal of Judge Cosgrove's earlier ruling denying him a new trial.

The appeals court decision may be read here

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