Judge sued; records the reason

WARREN – A bail bondsman in Warren is suing Warren Municipal Judge Terry Ivanchak to force him to produce records requested in April of 2012.

Tom Cool, owner of Thomas Cool Bail Bonding, says he has received no response from the judge since he made the written request 21 months ago.

The lawsuit, filed in Trumbull County Common Pleas Court, seeks production of the records and damages under Ohio’s Sunshine Laws.

The penalty, if imposed, is set at $100 to $1,000 per day beginning the day the person seeking the records files the lawsuit.

A message seeking comment was left with Ivanchak. Peggy Scott, clerk of courts, said the court would not comment on the lawsuit.

The case has been assigned to Common Pleas Judge W. Wyatt McKay.

Cool’s April 11, 2012, request to the judge and a member of the judge’s staff is for audio and written transcripts related to cases involving Stephen W. Vucco and Amanda Hallas, both of Warren.

A search of records on the court’s website shows that Vucco appeared in Warren Municipal Court on Aug. 18, 2009, on a charge of domestic violence.

A month later, Ivanchak sentenced Vucco to a suspended 30-day jail sentence and fined him $250, $150 of which was suspended, to a lesser charge of disorderly conduct.

The only records that showed for Hallas were for traffic citations. The case involving her that Cool wants does not appear on the court website.

Vucco is in the Trumbull County Jail on an unrelated charge. A number listed at an address once belonging to Hallas did not have working voicemail.

This type of court action, although uncommon, has been filed before.

In 2009, a woman from Hubbard and her attorney were awarded nearly $12,000 in damages and fees because Girard Municipal Court was unable to produce a stenographic and audio recording relating to a 2003 case that involved her in that court. McKay ordered the payment.