A visiting judge has thrown out a case against former Assistant Columbiana County Prosecutor John Gamble two days before he was to go on trial for charges following a Facebook message he posted.

Judge David Stucki on Monday dismissed four misdemeanor charges of complicity that were levied against the former Senior Assistant Prosecutor, who lost his election bid to become county prosecutor in November.

At issue was Gamble's Facebook page, which shows pictures of him posing with local law enforcement officers posted after Gamble was endorsed by the county Democratic Party to run as their candidate for the county prosecutor's post.

The complaint alleged that Gamble is an accomplice in violating Ohio's law prohibiting political activity, other than voting, by classified civil service employees.

The complaint specifically named East Liverpool Police Officers Darin Morgan and Fred Flati, neither of whom were charged in the case.

In his ruling, judge Stucki ruled that convicting Gamble would violate his constitutional rights to equal protection and free speech.

"In order for the State of Ohio restrict/infringe on these individual freedoms, they must show a Compelling
State Interest to do so. The State's interest does not rise to that level herein. Therefore, this prosecution must fail as a matter of law," Stucki wrote in his opinion.

In addition, the judge said that since Gamble was not a classified state employee, and the police officers allegedly involved were not charged in the case, there was no violation of Ohio's so-called "Little Hatch Act".

As part of his order, Judge Stucki the trial which had been scheduled for Wednesday.

Gamble ran as the Democratic candidate in November's General Election. He lost the race to Republican Vito Abruzzinio.