State Rep. Pete Beck, R-Mason, waived his right Tuesday for a jury trial as he faces dozens of charges on securities fraud, theft, public corruption and other charges.
Now, Hamilton County Court Judge John Andrew West will decide the state representative’s criminal fate at the end of the scheduled four-week trial set to begin Nov. 17.
Beck and his attorneys were in court Tuesday morning for another hearing in the 14-month-old case. Another hearing is scheduled for Oct. 23 to address issues between Beck’s defense team and the prosecution, which is being led by the Ohio Attorney General’s Office. Also in the hearing, the prosecution and defense should be prepared to request any needed or special equipment in order to present their cases.
Waiving the jury trial is a strategy for the defense when it feels it would be “a safer choice” to have a bench trial, said Brad Kraemer, a West Chester Twp. criminal defense attorney.
“Often times when you have a case where there is a lot of media scrutiny or attention, and someone is in the position of authority, it may raise a lot of anger and upset a lot of people,” he said.
Miami University professor Daniel Hall said a jury trial may tie the hands of a defense team.
“Typically, the decision to waive is made because the defendant believes a jury will be biased, often due to pretrial publicity, because the alleged crime is shocking, or the accused is not a sympathetic defendant,” he said. “A defendant may also waive the right to a jury trial if he or she will be disadvantaged by a jury’s inability to understand complex law or facts.”
The 61-year-old Beck, who lost his bid re-election to the 54th Ohio House District when he finished behind his two challengers in the May 6 primary, was indicted twice within seven months. He first indicted on 16 charges in July 2013 and then public corruption and 53 additional charges in February 2014 for his involvement with Christopher Technologies, a now-defect tech company.
Beck served as the company’s chief financial officer.
Janet Combs, Ark by the River, Christopher Technologies and TML Consulting were also indicted on several felony charges in the February indictment.
Beck’s attorney, Ralph Kohnen, said he and his staff are poring through the discovery documents provided by the Ohio Attorney General’s office, which will eventually include two boxes of material sent by the prosecution on Friday. It’s been reported in previous court appearances that more than 100,000 pages of discovery material are being provided to the defense.
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