Coffland Misdemeanor Trial on Tap Tuesday

Belmont County Commissioner Matthew D. Coffland – acquitted of a felony charge last month – is set for a pre-trial hearing next week on three misdemeanor charges.

Coffland is scheduled to appear in Eastern Division Court at 8 a.m. Tuesday, according to the docket in Bellaire. Monroe County Common Pleas Court Judge James Peters will preside as visiting judge.

The charges that remain against Coffland pertain to incidents at his Tiger Pub bar in Shadyside early on April 1, as reported by agents with the Ohio Investigative Unit. The agents entered the Tiger Pub just before 2 a.m. and began checking patrons’ identification for signs of underage alcohol sales there, prior court testimony has indicated.

Coffland spoke with the agents, then told an employee to announce to customers that agents were on the premises and that he was closing the bar early. The agents responded to Coffland’s action by charging him and his son, Matthew B. Coffland, with the following 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 others of impending discovery or apprehension.
  • 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.

Court proceedings pertaining to the misdemeanor offenses were put on hold as Coffland faced a separate felony charge of assault for an incident at Jamboree In The Hills. He was accused of throwing a beer can at one of the Ohio Investigative Unit’s officers in attendance.

Coffland was acquitted of the felony on Oct. 19 following a three-day trial. Had he been convicted of the felony offense, he would not have been permitted to continue to hold elected office.

Coffland, a Democrat, was re-elected in the Nov. 6 general election. He received 42.67 percent of the vote over Independent challengers Doug Longenette and Jerry Echemann.