Coffland Case Continued

BELLAIRE – Court cases involving Belmont County Commissioner Matthew D. Coffland were continued Tuesday in Eastern Division Court.

Coffland’s bond was extended, but with two provisions at the request of special prosecutor Thomas Hampton. First, Coffland must not consume or possess alcoholic beverages. Secondly, he must not enter any establishment that sells liquor – with the exception of the Tiger Pub bar in Shadyside, which he owns.

Hampton said it has always been his policy to request prohibitions on alcohol when agreeing to bond extensions.

“But if a defendant owns a bar, we can’t make him give up his bar,” he added.

Hampton noted similar exceptions have been made for bartenders and that Coffland isn’t getting special treatment “because he is a commissioner.”

Coffland, 54, was represented by Wheeling attorney Patrick Cassidy. He made his initial appearance in court Tuesday to face charges filed in Western Division Court by the Ohio Department of Public Safety liquor control division following an alleged incident July 20 at the Jamboree In The Hills site.

In Western Court, Coffland is accused of assault on a peace officer, a fourth-degree felony, and disorderly conduct while intoxicated, a misdemeanor. He posted a $5,000 bond on the felony charge and $175 on the misdemeanor following his arrest.

Coffland on Tuesday also appeared in Eastern Division Court for a pretrial conference on additional charges filed by liquor control agents after a visit to Coffland’s bar early on April 1. Coffland has said he learned liquor control agents were in his bar at about 2 a.m., announced their presence to bar patrons and told them he was closing early.

Liquor control agents at that time charged him with three misdemeanors:

  • Knowingly or recklessly hindering or obstructing an agent or employee of the Ohio Division of Liquor Control;
  • Knowingly – with purpose to hinder the discovery, apprehension, prosecution, conviction or punishment of another for a crime – warning other persons of impending discovery or apprehension; and
  • Knowingly and without privilege – with the purpose to prevent, obstruct or delay the performance by a public official of an authorized act – performing an act that hampered or impeded a public official in the performance of the public official’s duties.

Coffland’s son, Matthew B. Coffland, 29, also was charged with the same three misdemeanors on April 1. His case also was continued.

All cases pertaining to both Cofflands were heard in Eastern Court on Tuesday with Hampton and Monroe County Judge James Peters present. Belmont County judges recused themselves from legal matters pertaining to Coffland, as Coffland is a county commissioner who decides their budgets.

Peters has not set a date for a preliminary hearing for Coffland on the July 20 charges. Hampton said for convenience, the hearing will likely take place by phone, noting the judge and the attorneys will talk and decide whether to proceed to trial.

“You won’t miss much,” Hampton said, adding that other legal proceedings will take place before the public.

Hampton said the case involving the incident at Coffland’s bar “most likely will be set for trial,” although no date has been set by Peters.