A jury trial on misdemeanor counts for Belmont County Commissioner Matthew D. Coffland starts today in county Eastern Division Court.
Proceedings involving Coffland and his son, Matthew B. Coffland, are set to begin at 9 a.m. before Monroe County Common Pleas Judge James Peters, serving as a visiting judge. Attorney Thomas Hampton is special prosecutor.
The jury will hear testimony pertaining to three misdemeanor charges filed against the Cofflands following incidents at Coffland's Tiger Pub bar in Shadyside early April 1.
These charges are separate from the felony charge the elder Coffland faced last fall. The commissioner was acquitted Oct. 19 of assaulting a peace officer during incidents on July 20 at Jamboree In The Hills.
Testimony during the felony trial indicated agents entered the Tiger Pub just before 2 a.m. April 1 and began checking patrons' identification for signs of underage alcohol sales. Coffland was cited after he alerted patrons Ohio Investigative Unit officers were present in the bar and that he was closing then - about 20 minutes prior to his regular closing time.
The Cofflands each were charged by the Ohio Investigative Unit officers 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; 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.
Matthew D. Coffland later was accused of throwing a beer can at Ohio Investigate Unite officer Donald Germany at JITH. Following his acquittal on the felony charge, Coffland was re-elected to a second term as commissioner in the Nov. 2 general election.