Clark County Common Pleas Court Judge Douglas Rastatter. FILE

State to pay $111K to man Clark County judge refused to release

A man once called a “major supplier” of cocaine to the Springfield community has secured a $111,846 settlement from the state of Ohio because a judge didn’t release him from prison after his conviction was overturned.

The Ohio Controlling Board is scheduled to vote Monday to release the money to Frank Davis, who was convicted in 1999 of cocaine possession after Springfield police found more than three pounds of cocaine at his Charles Street home.

Davis was sentenced to 11 years in prison, and assistant Clark County Prosecutor Stephen Collins said then, “I think the mere fact that he had a kilo-and-a-half of powdered cocaine when they executed the search warrant indicates this individual was a major supplier of coke to this community.”

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Davis consistently denied the drugs were his, and after several appeals, his conviction was overturned in 2006 because the search warrant was insufficient.

“The search warrant was defective because the police searched the entire premises, including his garage, and they did not have probable cause to go into the garage or various other parts of the residence,” said his attorney, Mark Porter of Chagrin Falls, in an interview this week.

“The state’s agents didn’t follow the law, and they have to follow the law, otherwise no one is safe.”

The courts ordered Davis released. Clark County Judge Douglas Rastatter disagreed with the order, and ordered Davis to stay in prison. Davis was finally released on order from the court of appeals.

Rastatter did not return calls for comment on his decision to hold Davis.

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The courts decided Davis was wrongfully imprisoned for 192 days. Under a settlement agreement, the state will pay Davis $73,369 personally, plus $36,630 in attorney’s fees and hundreds more for court costs.

News coverage of Davis’ arrest say police seized $87,793, cars including a Lincoln Continental and Jaguar, and other property. Porter said Davis never got his property back, nor the years of his life he lost.

“Mr. Davis is owed this money because he was deprived of a significant portion of his life for a wrongful conviction, he was deprived the company of his wife and his daughter for that time, and he was also deprived of his business, which collapsed,” Porter said.

State rules say someone is eligible for more than $52,000 for each year they are improperly behind bars.

The only other wrongful imprisonment case the state paid out so far this year cost Ohio more than $4 million. That was a Portage County case in which two men were each improperly locked up for more than 16 years on murder charges.

In 2016, the state paid out three wrongful imprisonment cases totaling nearly $7.4 million.

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