LIMA — After nearly 3 1/2 years of legal wrangling that included numberous motions and filings, and after having gone through several defense attorneys during that time span, a Lima man was ordered to prison Wednesday after the Third District Court of Appeals upheld his conviction and 12-year prison sentence earlier this month.
Leonard Bingham Jr., 52, in late October 2018 entered a plea of no contest to a first-degree felony count of possession of cocaine, a second-degree felony charge of the illegal manufacture of drugs (with a specification labeling Bingham as a Major Drug Offender), a third-degree felony count of having a weapon under disability and a fifth-degree felony count of possession of marijuana. He was sentenced to 12 years in prison but remained free on a $250,000 bond pending appeal.
On Aug. 19 the appellate court rejected Bingham’s appeal, setting up a hearing Wednesday in Allen County Common Pleas Court surrounding Binghan’s immediate future.
The Lima man told Judge Jeffrey Reed that he plans to file another motion with the appeals court and also intends to file additional paperwork to have his case heard by the Ohio Supreme Court. He asked for a continuation of his bond while preparing those appeals.
But Assistant Allen County Prosecuting Attorney Jana Emerick objected.
“The state had agreed not to oppose an appeal bond … singular, not plural,” Emerick told the court. “Not a never-ending appeal. We believe we have fulfilled our commitment and that our agreement is done. We absolutely oppose another bond for his endless appeals.”
“Enough is enough in terms of how long this has dragged out. The state is asking the court to impose the prison term at this time,” the prosecutor said.
Reed agreed, ordering Bingham to immediately begin serving his 12-year prison sentence.
Bingham was indicted by a grand jury in May 2016 and the case has proceeded slowly since that time as attorneys battled over several aspects of an alleged drug buy on the part of a confidential informant on March 31, 2016, and a SWAT team’s execution of a search warrant the following day at a residence at 419 S. Collett St. in Lima. Drugs and guns were found during the raid.
Court documents show that the Lima police officer who submitted an affidavit to the judge to obtain the search warrant — Dustin Brotherwood — included in his request information pertaining to the purchase of drugs from Bingham by a confidential informant; information that was later determined to be erroneous.
A civil lawsuit filed by Bingham against The Lima News and its parent company, AIM Media Midwest, is still pending.
Bingham filed the suit earlier this year against the newspaper, alleging he suffered harm to his reputation as well as financial losses as the result of a Jan. 13 editorial which stated that Bingham “preyed on others by selling cocaine and marijuana.”