A Difficult Defense?

Photo%3A+Google+Images%2C+Liz+Dufour%2FThe+Enquirer+

Photo: Google Images, Liz Dufour/The Enquirer

Jaden Morris, Staff Reporter

The legal landscape in Portsmouth, Ohio changed significantly on Friday, Oct. 23, when local attorney Michael Mearan was criminally indicted by Ohio Attorney General David Yost as part of his effort to investigate and prosecute those responsible for human trafficking in the stateSpecifically, the indictment included eighteen felony counts, all of which were associated with human trafficking/corruption and supposedly took place between the years of 2003 and 2018. Collectively, the attorney faces a potential sentence of at least seventy years if found guilty of the charges brought forth. Although the numerous charges that Mearan faces have many significant implications (both legally and morally), it is important to note that all individuals are presumed innocent until proven guilty by a court of law.  

On the following Monday, Mearan pleaded not guilty to all eighteen felony counts and a bond was established in the amount of $300,000By Wednesday, the attorney was released from his brief tenure in jail after subsequently posting the bond. 

Michael Mearan’s legal representation is another local attorney, Richard Nash. Nash proposed the argument for Mearan to have the opportunity to be released on the basis of the attorney’s declining health, citing chronic instances of diabetes and congestive heart failure. Concerns related to accountability and surveillance were presented by the prosecution, as well as his potential risk to the surrounding community.  

Summarily, it is important for members of the community to be aware of and follow the happenings of this trial, and for justifiable reasons. Attorney Michael Mearan has been a prominent member of the community for many years, serving those around him legally and civically, having also served as a member of city council. For several years, there have been numerous rumors and statements from many women, members of the community, and journalists that have detailed the alleged behaviors in which he has now been formally accused of. 

Human trafficking is a very serious topic, and the actions, if true, certainly have many serious implications. Although it is essential to always presume innocence before one is defined as guilty by a jury, especially in a case such as this with much speculation, protecting the most vulnerable members of our community should be of great importance. Only when individuals of all phases and positions of life choose to care for one another and serve each other in the faithfully community can we positively make Scioto County a better place.