Courts: Fairborn candidate has 4 recent misdemeanor convictions, 1 this year

Three times, court records show James L. Baker was first charged with domestic violence, then pleaded guilty to disorderly conduct

One of the current candidates for Fairborn City Council has three misdemeanor convictions for disorderly conduct in the past seven years — one of the convictions just a few months ago — and is seeking to have records sealed.

Fairborn Municipal Court records show each of those cases against James L. Baker, 58, began with a charge of domestic violence, followed later by a guilty plea to a charge of disorderly conduct.

Baker also had a charge of operating a vehicle while intoxicated in 2021, and eventually pleaded guilty to a “physical control” of a vehicle charge, according to court documents.

He is one of five candidates running for Fairborn City Council this fall, with three seats open. The other candidates are incumbents Clint Allen and Tana Stanton, plus challengers Katy Carlton and Sylvia Chess.

Baker owns Jimmy B’s Automotive, Motorcycle Detailing and Window Tinting in Fairborn. Baker said he was a Clark County probation officer for a few years in the 1990s before working as an officer in the Dayton Police Department from 2000-08.

Baker told the Dayton Daily News that the court records “don’t tell the whole story.” He also said, “I have not been convicted of the charges that I had … As for a criminal record, I was not found guilty of any of that stuff.”

In each of the four cases, Baker was convicted of lesser offenses than originally charged, and some related charges were dismissed, according to court records.

“That last incident was absolutely ridiculous,” he said, apparently referring to a case earlier this year. “My girlfriend actually wrote a letter to the judge, the prosecutor and the victim advocate that that did not happen.”

Baker said he accepted the lesser charges on the advice of his attorney. He said, “I was going to take it to a jury trial each time.” Court records show Baker made a request for a jury trial during each proceeding.

The Fairborn misdemeanor convictions Baker is seeking to seal include charges dating back to 2016, records from the Greene County court show.

“There’s numerous charges available for people who have been convicted of offenses (and) those can be sealed,” Fairborn Clerk of Courts Melissa Litteral said.

“In this case, that’s apparently what the defendant has done,” she added. “All of these cases have been finished, technically.”

Cases involving Baker, according to court documents, include:

• On Oct. 13, 2016, Baker was charged with domestic violence. He was later convicted of a lesser charge of disorderly conduct. A hearing to seal the record is set for Dec. 15.

• On June 1, 2020, Baker was charged domestic violence and assault. He was later convicted of disorderly conduct. A second charge was dismissed. A hearing to seal the records in both issues is scheduled for Dec. 1.

• On March 22, 2021, Baker was charged with OVI/under the influence, but convicted on a lesser charge of physical control. Ohio law defines physical control “as being in the driver’s seat of a vehicle and having possession of the vehicle’s keys or other ignition devices while under the influence of drugs, alcohol or a combination.” A sealing record hearing is set for Dec. 1.

• In an April 20, 2023 filing, three charges were listed for Baker. The charges of domestic violence and assault were eventually dismissed. On the third charge, which had initially been listed as obstruction, Baker pleaded guilty to disorderly conduct.

Baker said he would vote for a candidate who has a similar court record.

“Why wouldn’t I?” he asked. “Is that in a bylaw that that excludes me from running for council and being on council?”

Baker said he is seeking a seat on city council because of his roots in the community and his desire to help shape its future.

“I live here. I grew up here. I own a business here,” he said. “I’m just concerned and interested in the progression of the city of Fairborn and the future. And the economic development of it.”

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