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Ohio state legislator faces OVI, weapons charges

Early reports are not positive ones for State Rep. Wes Retherford of Hamilton. The legislator was recently arrested for OVI after reportedly falling asleep in a McDonald's drive-thru. A police report indicates that he almost fell down while he was being administered a sobriety test.

In addition to drunk driving, he is also charged with a felony (mishandling a firearm). His case is headed now to a grand jury for consideration.

Retherford is resisting calls for him to resign from his seat in the Ohio legislature, however. According to a newspaper report, the state Republican party chair considered calling on him to resign, but changed her mind.

Cincinnati.com noted that if Retherford is convicted of the felony firearms violation, he would be barred by law from continuing to serve in public office.

Though the Butler County GOP chair has called for his resignation, state party leaders have said that the justice system will determine if the accusations against Retherford are valid.

Ohio Republican Party chair Jane Timken called on Retherford to resign "if these allegations are true."

Apart from any political considerations, this approach appears to many observers to be a reasonable one. We all understand that a criminal charge is not the same as a conviction and should not be treated the same.

The representative will have his day in court, just as everyone else who faces an OVI charge has the right to defend himself or herself; a difficult task best undertaken with the help of an experienced, skilled criminal defense attorney.

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