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Ex-officer granted judicial release

STEUBENVILLE — Nathan Cline, a former City Police officer, was granted judicial release from prison on Monday by Jefferson County Common Pleas Judge Michelle Miller.

Cline was sentenced on Jan. 28 to two years in prison in connection with an investigation into illegal hunting and the improper use of a state database used by law enforcement.

Cline, 41, pleaded guilty to five felonies and 11 misdemeanors.

Cline was among seven people who were indicted by the county grand jury in the illegal hunting case presented by the state attorney general’s office.

Cline pleaded guilty to five counts of hunting without permission, six counts of illegal possession of deer or deer parts, both misdemeanors, and felony counts of theft, grand theft, complicity to theft, unauthorized used of the law enforcement automated database system and attempted engagement in a pattern of corrupt activity.

He was fired from his police position in October 2018.

Miller told Cline he could never again be a police officer because of his felony convictions.

Cline’s indictment also stated Cline on June 29, 2017, gave information he obtained through the law enforcement automated database system to a co-defendant. Law enforcement is prohibited from using the information for personal use.

Attorney Kenneth Egbert with the state attorney general’s office said the state agreed not to oppose judicial release if Cline served one year of the sentence. Cline hasn’t served the entire year.

Cline’s attorney, Ryan Shafer, said Cline was in protective custody while in prison because of his job as a police officer. Shafer said Cline had no infractions while in prison.

Cline said he will be working out of the Laborer’s union hall.

Cline told Miller it had been a long ten and one-half months in protective custody.

“I made the most of every day I was there,” he said.

Numerous members of Cline’s family were in the courtroom.

Miller said Cline was eligible for judicial release.

The judge placed Cline on probation for five years, beginning with intensive probation. Cline must perform 500 hours of community service. Cline also can’t apply for a fishing or hunting license while on probation. Cline at sentencing was fined $3,000, with $2,000 going to the Ohio wildlife fund.

Egbert said notices were sent to the property owners where Cline trespassed for hunting but none objected to the judicial release.

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