LIMA — A group of 30 people held a protest outside the Allen County courthouse Monday to draw attention to what they said is unfair sentences given to defendants who take their cases to trial.
They highlighted the case of Ricky Manley Jr., who was sentenced to 17 years in prison for shooting a shotgun at a man. The shots struck a house across Allentown Road.
Manley’s aunt, Patricia Carter, said no one was injured in the shooting. She said Judge Richard Warren makes defendants pay a penalty for taking a case to trial, which is a defendant’s right.
“Most people who go to trial tend to be penalized for going to trial. It’s one of our constitutional rights to a fair trial but in Allen County, it’s not so,” Carter said.
She also said Warren takes it personally when it comes to the Manley family.
Warren said that is not true and he does not give longer sentences to people who refuse to take a plea.
“They can say anything they want. That’s not true. I tell people there is no trial tax,” Warren said.
Specifically, Warren said Ricky Manley tried to kill someone and shot at the person with a shotgun. The shots missed and crossed a busy road.
“I do what I have to do. If everybody looks, I give everybody chances. I get criticized for that, which is OK, but when there needs to be something done, I do that, too,” Warren said.
The group held a similar protest in April and plans to hold protest in the future.
“We’re going to do this until justice is served,” Carter said.