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Back page: Judge uses poetry to dismiss case

COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) — A judge used a five-stanza poem to dismiss an Ohio prisoner’s lawsuit over bathroom access, writing that “neither runs nor constipation can justify this litigation.” Franklin County Judge David Cain concluded the inmate didn’t have a case. “You know, if he is going to file something that frivolous, he can’t expect me to be too judicious in how I respond,” Cain told The Columbus Dispatch. “He can’t expect me to take it seriously.” The inmate, Darek Lathan, alleged that he soiled himself and was ridiculed after a guard at the Correctional Reception Center in Orient refused his request to use an open restroom during recreation time one evening. He sued the state, seeking at least $2 million in damages. Cain dismissed the case Thursday through written rhymes that summarized Lathan’s allegations and the jurist’s conclusions, including: “Claiming loss and shame to boot the plaintiff filed the present suit, but the law provideth no relief from such unmitigated grief.” Records show Lathan, 47, is now incarcerated elsewhere and had no attorney in the case who could comment on his behalf. The judge, who started out as a journalist, said it took him about an hour to write the poem. “We have to have some fun every once in a while in this job,” Cain told the newspaper.


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