ELYRIA, Ohio - Nancy Smith walked into court Tuesday morning in Lorain County knowing she could leave handcuffed and going back to prison. But Smith walked out of court free to go home once again.
It's been two years since Nancy Smith and Joseph Allen were set free, and they will remain free after Tuesday's court hearing, but a legal battle continues at the state court's highest level.
Nancy Smith cried in the hallway after court Tuesday in Elyria while telling reporters she just wants to live her life and spend time with her children and grandchildren and said it's a horrible feeling to be accused of something she never did.
Joseph Allen was not in court today but his attorney was and his sister said Allen is having a hard time living his life in limbo.
Smith's attorney said he'll wait for the Ohio Supreme Court's decision, but he was prepared to ask for a new trial based on what he called dramatic new evidence.
Judge James Burge said Tuesday that he filed a motion asking the Ohio Supreme Court to rule that it was either clearly or ambiguously within his power to rule on setting Smith and Allen free and therefor upholding his ruling
Smith and Allen were found guilty by a jury in 1994 of molesting several children. The prosecution said Smith used her job as a Head Start bus driver to transport young children to Allen's apartment in Lorain where the two would sexually abuse them.
Both Allen and Smith insisted their innocence throughout the trial, but a judge sentenced Smith to 30-90 years in prison, and Allen to five consecutive life sentences.
A scheduling error in that sentencing put both Smith and Allen in front of Lorain County Common Pleas Judge James Burge to be processed and sent back to prison in 2009. But instead of fixing the error, Burge used it to throw out the convictions. Burge set Smith and Allen free, stating that he believed that they were innocent.
The Ohio Supreme Court issued a ruling Jan. 27 ruling that Judge Burge did not have the power to acquit Smith and Allen. Burge was ordered to fix the initial error, and the correction could have sent the pair back to prison.
Extra Lorain County Sheriffs deputies were in the Lorain County courtroom because court officials expected a large crowd of Smith's supporters including family and friends.
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