No plea deal reached in Montgomery County Jail pepper-spraying case

The former Montgomery County Sheriff’s Office captain charged with misdemeanor assault for pepper-spraying an inmate in a restraint chair was scheduled for a pretrial hearing Friday afternoon in Dayton Municipal Court, but nothing was put on the record.

Judith Sealey, who took medical disability last year after being charged for the November 2015 incident in which she pepper-sprayed Amber Swink, had a pretrial scheduled for Friday afternoon.

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But court officials, after first saying something would be put on the record, later said nothing would be put on the record after the sides were unable to reach a plea agreement. Visiting Judge Chris Martin, formerly of Fairfield County, heard from both sides in chambers.

About an hour after the hearing was to begin, a court bailiff said nothing would be put on the record. Sealey’s trial is scheduled for May 29, though court staff said a plea could be reached before that time.

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A previously unscheduled hearing was held Feb. 12 in which Sealey’s trial was continued from March 22. Sealey has pleaded not guilty.

The county settled a federal lawsuit with Swink and her attorney for $375,000. Sealey was a sergeant when she allegedly assaulted Swink, who was an inmate in the Montgomery County Jail.

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Several current or former jail employees have been served subpoenas in the case, during which a grand jury declined felony charges.

Judge Christopher Roberts had sought to recuse himself from the case, but no visiting judge has been named, according to the docket.

RELATED: Former jail sergeant alleges cover-up of pepper-spray incident

Sealey did not appear in court during a December hearing, but defense attorney Anthony VanNoy and Cincinnati Prosecutor’s Office assistant Natalia Harris met with Roberts before that pretrial hearing.

The case is being handled by the Cincinnati Prosecutor’s Office because Dayton City Prosecutor Stephanie Cook — a member of a Montgomery County Jail oversight committee — said it would be seen as a potential conflict of interest for her office.

RELATED: Complete timeline of pepper-spray incident at Montgomery County Jail

Video of the pepper-spraying came to light months after the incident when Swink’s attorney, Douglas Brannon, posted it on his website.

The video spurred the lawsuit, an ongoing federal probe, the misdemeanor criminal charge against Sealey and contributed to calls for oversight of jail operations.

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