AKRON -- U.S. District Court Judge Sara Lioi has sentenced former Cuyahoga County Common Pleas Judge Steven J. Terry to 63 months on each of three corruption-related charges. The sentences are to run concurrently.
Terry was sentenced just before 1 p.m. after a nearly four-hour-long hearing on Tuesday. He was sentenced on three counts of mail fraud and "honest services" and acquitted on two counts.
The federal honest services statute makes it a crime to defraud citizens of their intangible rights to the honest and impartial government.
In addition to the prison time, Lioi sentenced Terry to two years supervised release and 250 hours community service.
It was requested that Terry serve his prison time at the Fededral Correctional Institution in Milan, Michigan. FCI Milan is located in southeastern Michigan, 45 miles south of Detroit, 15 miles south of Ann Arbor, and 30 miles north of Toledo.
His lead attorney, Angelo Lonardo, asked for that facility so there would be little or no chance that Terry would be housed in a facility where he had sent defendants that he had sentenced during his two years on the bench.
Terry, 53, a married father of one, was convicted June 13 of three corruption-related charges related to fixing that foreclosure case for Russo and of performing campaign work with court employees on county time.
The restitution to Cuyahoga County is for time spent by county employees working on Terry's election campaign.
The jury acquitted him of two other charges.
Terry spoke for 20 seconds at his sentencing, thanking his family and friends for their support and saying, "I respectfully disagree with the verdict."
Lonardo is not representing Terry in his appeal of his convictions.
Terry has hired attorney Sylvester Summers to handle his appeal. Summers attended the sentencing hearing but replied "No comment" outside the court after sentencing.
Lonardo confirmed in court that his representation of Terry began Sept. 23, 2008, the day the FBI and ATF searched his chambers in the Justice Center. Terry was not charged until Sept. 15, 2010.
Terry, who had been appointed to the bench in April, 2007, won election to the seat in November, 2008.
The sentencing guidelines showed that Lioi could have sentenced Terry to between 51 and 63 months on each count, if she chose to impose maximum sentences.
Assistant U.S. Attorney Antoinette Bacon asked Lioi to sentence Terry to the maximum months "when a judge fixes a case for his own benefit."
Bacon said Terry "compounded the problem by taking the stand (in his own defense) and then lying about it."
"He engaged in a pattern of lying...he was a former prosecutor...and as a judge..he understands what the law is...he knew better, your honor," Bacon said.
Bacon said he should receive the maximum "...because he was more concerned about the title of judge than dispensing justice..."
Russo helped Terry with his November, 2008 election campaign and helped him decide which fundraisers and events he should appear at to get better known.
Lioi waived any fine but ordered Terry to pay restitution to Cuyahoga County in the amount of $17,819.33. He must also pay $11,500 in restitution to Graystone Tower Bank, which acquired American Home Bank two years ago.
AHB was the bank involved in the foreclosure case that Terry was convicted of improperly interfering with at the request of then-Cuyahoga County Auditor Frank Russo.
Court records show that Terry is appealing his June 13 conviction. A hearing will be held soon to determine whether Terry may be allowed to remain free on bond pending the outcome of the appeal.
Terry was arrested Sept. 15, 2010, the same day former Cuyahoga County Commissioner Jimmy Dimora and former Cuyahoga County Common Pleas Judge Bridget McCafferty were arrested, along with three others.
Dimora is scheduled for trial in January and McCafferty is serving 14 months in federal prison after a jury found her guilty a few months ago on all 10 counts of lying to the FBI.
Terry had pleaded not guilty at his Sept. 15, 2010 arraignment and was released on $50,000 bond.
He was on leave from the court until his June 13 conviction, when he resigned from the bench. Gov. John Kasich appointed Pamela Barker to his seat in Common Pleas Court.