Akron: Judge postpones Prade hearing until other court rules

AKRON -- Summit County Common Pleas Judge Christine Croce has now postponed the hearing scheduled for 9 a.m. Monday regarding former Akron police Capt. Douglas Prade.

Croce said she is staying all proceedings pending a decision by the Ninth District Court of Appeals on a motion for reconsideration Prade filed.

Croce will reschedule a hearing, if necessary, once the Appeals Court publishes its ruling.

Monday's hearing was for Croce to hear arguments whether Prade should get e new trial.

Prade, 67, was convicted of killing his ex-wife Dr. Margo Prade outside her medical office back in 1998.

He has already spent almost 15 years in prison in her death and he was not eligible for parole until after 26 years.

Back on March 19, the Ninth District Court of Appeals released an opinion overturning Judge Judy Hunter's ruling that Prade was wrongfully convicted. That ruling freed him from from prison in January 2013, based on new DNA evidence.

The appeals court declared that Judge Hunter abused her discretion in declaring Prade innocent and called the latest DNA results "wholly questionable."

The court has not yet decided whether Judge Hunter's order for a new trial is valid.

At issue is the interpretation of the appeals court ruling.

Attorneys for Prade say the 9th District Court of Appeals requires Croce to order a new trial, while prosecutors say the court left it up to her to decide.

Judge Judith Hunter, now retired, exonerated Prade in January 2013 after DNA tests showed that a bite mark on Dr. Prade's lab coat did not come from her ex-husband. She also made what has been described as a "conditional order" that if her ruling exonerating Prade was overturned, he should receive a new trial.

In its March ruling, the appeals court said the DNA testing only raised more questions than answers and Prade's original conviction was based on overwhelming circumstantial evidence.


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