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Superior Court Ruling Leads to Release of 10 Inmates from Clarion County Jail
CLARION, Pa. (EYT) – A Superior Court ruling last week in a case involving a Clarion County woman has led to the release of 10 inmates from the Clarion County Jail but does not seem to have affected inmates at either the Jefferson County or Venango County Jails.
In Thompson vs. Thompson, Clarion County resident Ashley Thompson successfully argued to the Superior Court that her six-month jail term for falling behind on her monthly child-support payment as part of an indefinitely suspended sentence handed down to her by a Clarion County judge was illegal.
Thompson’s lawyer, John P. (Jack) Troese of Clarion told The Legal Intelligencer after the ruling was handed down last week that he believes the kind of agreement Thompson entered into – an agreement which imposed a suspended sentence for civil contempt – was “widespread” in Clarion County.
While Clarion County saw 10 inmates released, neither Jefferson County nor Venango County had any inmates released according to representatives from both counties.
“The judge hasn’t released anyone in Jefferson County as far as I know,” stated Josh Dean of the Jefferson County Domestic Relations office.
“I don’t think we had anyone in jail under suspended sentences. Everyone in there has had a purge. We believe that we are in compliance, but I have sent the ruling to the judge to make sure.”
A purge is basically an amount that needs to be paid by someone who is capable of paying it, and when they pay it, they can be released. They also have the ability to appeal the amount to the Superior Court.
A representative of the Venango County Court Administrator’s Office, after checking with the Chief Clerk, said that no one from Venango County was released under the ruling either.
The fact there were no inmates in either Venango County nor Jefferson County released didn’t surprise Troese, who said the Clarion County situation is “abnormal” across the state.
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