Retired judge Arthur Ney dies at 88 - Cincinnati News, FOX19-WXIX TV

Retired judge Arthur Ney dies at 88

Arthur M. Ney Jr. (Provided by Thomas-Justin Memorial Funeral Home's website) Arthur M. Ney Jr. (Provided by Thomas-Justin Memorial Funeral Home's website)
CINCINNATI, OH (FOX19) - Retired Hamilton County judge and prosecutor Arthur M. Ney Jr. died this week at the age of 88.

Known for his firm, no-nonsense courtroom demeanor, Ney famously convened the grand jury that indicted the Contemporary Arts Center and its director, Dennis Barrie, on misdemeanor charges in connection with the controversial 1990 Robert Mapplethorpe exhibit 'A Perfect Moment.'

A jury acquitted Barrie and the museum, affirming the First Amendment freedom of speech protection in the realm of art. The case drew national attention to the Tri-State, sparking an intense debate over what was considered art and what was obscene.

But there was so much more to Ney than that case. He locked up some of the worst criminals in the region. He served as an assistant chief county prosecutor, as the elected Hamilton County prosecutor (1984-1992) and then as a judge on the Hamilton County Court of Common Pleas.

Hamilton County Prosecutor Joe Deters saddened to hear of Ney's passing Monday.

"When Art was prosecutor, I worked closely with him to convict serial killer Donald Harvey of 28 murders," Deters recalled. "Art also successfully prosecuted serial killer Alton Coleman. Art was a friend, a mentor, and a valuable public servant."

The U.S. Marine was considered a protege of former Hamilton County sheriff and prosecutor Simon Leis, also a fellow Marine.

Ney may have been tough, but he was intelligent and fair, said Hamilton County Republican Party Chairman Alex Triantifilou.

"He was a very consistent judge, very even-handed," recalled Triantifilou, who tried cases before Ney as a former county assistant prosecutor. "He was stern for sure. He was pretty legendary, personality-wise. You had to be ready."

Visitation will be 5-8 p.m. Thursday at Thomas-Justin Memorial Funeral Home, 7500 Montgomery Rd., Silverton.

A funeral mass will take place 10 a.m. Friday at Saint Francis Xavier Church, 607 Sycamore St., Downtown. 

Burial with full military honors will follow at Gate of Heaven Cemetery, 11000 Montgomery Rd., Montgomery.

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