Jalene McClure again seeks bail through new counsel

A new motion for bail was filed on behalf of a Centre County woman incarcerated since 2014 on a conviction overturned in 2016.

Jalene McClure, 43, has been fighting an ordered retrial since the sentencing for an assault conviction that was overturned amid an alleged texting scandal in the county. McClure’s attorney at the time, Bernie Cantorna, filed an open records request for phone records that showed text messages between former Centre County Judge Bradley Lunsford and members of the District Attorney’s Office, some of whom were suggested to have made ex parte communications during trial.

Cantorna now serves as the Centre County district attorney, and withdrew himself as McClure’s counsel on Dec. 6. Attorney John Abom now represents McClure and filed the motion for bail on Dec. 29.

McClure attempted to make a motion for bail in March 2017, but was denied. A December order denying a request to stop a retrial was vacated by the state Superior Court in October 2017. According to the order, the case has remained in limbo pending Lunsford’s appeal to the state Supreme Court.

McClure has been incarcerated at the Centre County Correctional Facility for more than a year during pending litigation, Abom said in the motion. He argued that his client has shown an “exemplary record” while incarcerated, and is a model prisoner with numerous family ties in the county.

An argument on the motion is scheduled for Jan. 16, court documents said.

Clinton County Senior Judge J. Michael Williamson deemed in December 2016 that, while there was texting between Lunsford and the Centre County District Attorney’s Office during the trial, it’s unlikely that the texting affected the trial.

Jeremy Hartley: 814-231-4616, @JJHartleyNews