Wrong Ruling

Court clerk's mistake gives Ohio wrong information on a ruling.

A federal appeals court says it mistakenly gave the Ohio attorney general the wrong information about a ruling in a death penalty case. Officials said today that a mistake by a clerk at the Sixth US Circuit Court of Appeals incorrectly led Attorney General Jim Petro's office to believe that the state had won an issue in the case -- when in fact the state had lost. The appeals court reaffirmed its decision to grant Ohio death row inmate John Stumpf a new trial for the slaying 20 years ago of a woman in Guernsey County. But a clerk of the court said today she mistakenly informed Ohio's lawyers that the state had been granted a re-hearing of the issue. The state attorney general's office says the family of slaying victim Mary Jane Stout is very upset over the error. The state attorneys say they are now considering whether to appeal to the US Supreme Court in an effort to re-instate the prisoner's death sentence. The 43-year-old inmate remains on death row while his appeal is pending. There is no date for his execution.