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Former county sheriff’s Sgt. James A. Truckey testifies during his criminal trial on charges that he assaulted a suspect and later tampered with evidence and records.

Former Ashtabula County Sheriff’s Deputy James Truckey has filed a petition in federal court related to his conviction on assault and dereliction of duty charges, according to court records.

Truckey, a former sergeant with the Ashtabula County Sheriff’s Office, was fired and indicted after punching a handcuffed suspect in the face in September 2016.

In filings to the District of Northern Ohio federal court, Truckey and his attorney, Kimberly Kendall, argue that Truckey’s rights were violated by the judge not allowing an expert witness to testify at trial, that Truckey was acting within his duty as a police officer and cannot be charge with assault for his actions, and that the court improperly convicted Truckey of dereliction of duty, according to court documents.

Truckey was initially charged with two counts of felonious assault, second-degree felonies, three counts of tampering with records and one count of tampering with evidence, third-degree felonies, and five counts of dereliction of duty, second-degree misdemeanors, according to court records. A jury found him guilty of one count of assault, a first-degree misdemeanor, tampering with records, tampering with evidence, and two counts of dereliction of duty, according to court records.

The convictions on tampering with evidence and dereliction of duty were overturned on appeal, according to court records. His conviction on assault was not overturned, according to court records. He was also sentenced for one count of dereliction of duty, with which Truckey’s legal filing takes issue.

Truckey was sentenced to 90 days in the Lake County Jail, and three years of community control. Near the end of September, Truckey’s community control ended. In the order ending Truckey’s community control, he was restored all his rights save the right to own firearms, according to court documents.

Now, Truckey is asking for an order to be brought before the court so “that he may be discharged from his unconstitutional confinement and restraint,” according to his petition.

Truckey has asked for a writ of habeas corpus from the court, according to court records.

Writs of habeas corpus are orders to bring a person before the court to determine if their imprisonment or detention is just, according to Cornell Law School.

The Ashtabula County Prosecutor’s Office responded to the appeal, stating that a writ of habeas corpus is not appropriate because Truckey is not in custody, and is not being confined, according to court documents. The county asked that the complaint be dismissed.

“We’re hopeful that the court will dismiss [Truckey’s petition],” Ashtabula County Prosecutor Cecilia Cooper said.

Truckey’s community control ended shortly before his petition was filed, according to Ashtabula County’s response to Truckey’s case.

Truckey is being sued in federal court by the man he assaulted. The plaintiff in that case is seeking compensatory damages of $25,000, and punitive damages to be determined at trial, according to court filings. The Ashtabula County Commissioners, the village of Jefferson, Sheriff William Johnson, and a number of others are also defendants in that case.

Kendall did not return several calls for comment.

Brian Haytcher is a reporter for the Star Beacon.

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