Coffland Trial Date Change Appropriate

During a span of less than three weeks, Belmont County Commissioner Matthew D. Coffland will face two major tests.

On Nov. 6, Coffland will see re-election during the general election. But by then, he already will have undergone an even more serious trial – literally.

Coffland is scheduled to go on trial Oct. 17 on a charge he assaulted a law enforcement officer. As we have reported, it stems from an allegation he threw a can or bottle at a state liquor control agent.

Initially, Coffland’s trial on the charge had been scheduled for Nov. 7 – the day after Election Day. A special prosecuting attorney from outside Belmont County had been named to handle the case. Retired Perry County Judge Linton Lewis was named by the state Supreme Court to preside over proceedings.

Coffland’s attorney had asked the trial be held before his client faces voters on Nov. 6. This week, Judge Lewis, noting the state had no objection, agreed to the request.

Good for all involved. It would have been unfair to Coffland – and voters – for the shadow of the criminal charge to be hanging over him on Election Day.

This way, justice can be done in the courtroom, paving the way for voters to make informed decisions about Coffland on Nov. 6.