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Saturday, July 9, 2016

Northern Kentucky Political Activist Sent to Jail on Animal Cruelty Charge

J.R. Roth was taken to jail this morning in Campbell County. FTM file. 
A local political activist was taken into custody Friday, directly from a Campbell County District courtroom after a motion was filed by the County Attorneys' office to revoke an appeal bond.

John "J.R." Roth, 60, of Cold Spring had a conviction of a previous verdict affirmed from a 2013 case in which a jury found him guilty of second-degree cruelty to animals. Roth was not given an option to bond out of jail and was taken to the Campbell County Detention Center by two deputies  where he could serve his full six-month sentence after his bond was revoked for a violation of the bond conditions.

On July 27, 2014, a jury imposed a $500 fine and a six month jail sentence against Roth, after he was found guilty of mistreating horses on his Campbell County farm.

He had been out on bond as that case was under appeal.

Then on documents signed on July 5, Campbell Circuit Court Judge, Fred A. Stine, wrote a 33-page opinion and order on that appeal, in which he reviewed 17 different assignments of error that Roth and his attorneys alleged were made against him during that trial.

All 17 of those assignments of error were overruled by Stine on appeal.

Some of the assertions that Roth claimed the District Court erred in his case ranged from the court allowing information from a "cruelty information sheet" that  he believed should not have been admitted to a statement he made to police about the animal cruelty case that he believed was prejudicial and ultimately led the jury to find him guilty.

That statement which Roth made to police voluntarily, according to documents, was that he "did not give a shit about th(e) horses," and was routinely cited in Stine's written opinion on the appeal.

Roth stood in Judge Karen Thomas' courtroom Friday, as she reviewed Stine's opinion.

"I believe Judge Stine's ruling is valid," said Judge Thomas. "You are welcome to appeal and it won't bother me if you do."

Roth was recently in the presence of Judge Thomas on June 23, after he was arrested and charged with felony trafficking in a controlled substance by Highland Heights Police. Police allege in the arrest citation that Roth sold ten "dosage units" of oxycodone to a "cooperating witness." Roth was represented on that charge by attorney, Chris Wiest, who has since withdrawn from the case.

Wiest filed a motion to have Judge Thomas recuse herself from the case, but no supporting affidavits were filed with that motion, so it was dismissed.

Roth was represented at the motion hour Friday by George Thompson, who was standing in for Roth's newly-hired Covington attorney, Harry Hellings.

He also has a pending charge from a second-degree burglary arrest that occurred in Clay County, Kentucky earlier in June.

Roth said that the burglary charge was a private complaint filed by the same person that brought the horses to his farm and who helped bring the drug trafficking charges against him as a confidential informant.

With the affirmed conviction and the pending other charges against Roth, Thomas ruled to return the bond on the animal cruelty change to Roth and sent him to jail.

Roth said that he believes he's being "railroaded." 

"The court is letting everyone else bond out and I’m going to jail because I’ve been a fly in the local government ointment in Campbell County. I’ve held the library and fiscal court to proper tax rates and the effect of that is somewhere around 50 million that I have saved the residents of Campbell County in taxes," said Roth.

"They’ve been sitting on my appeal for two years.  I’ve showed up to every court hearing, never skipped one but they want me in jail. They want to make an example out of me."

Roth is well known in Campbell County political circles. A member of the Northern Kentucky Tea Party, he has been vocal about government over-spending and was one of the plaintiffs in the 2012 lawsuit that sought to repeal the property tax that funds libraries in Campbell County.

Roth's attorneys will attempt to petition the courts for a bond review hearing, that would first go back to the Campbell County Circuit level, then onto the Appellate Courts.

Trafficking in a controlled substance is a Class D felony punishable by up to 5 years in jail.

John P. Roth Jr. was booked into the Campbell County Detention Center on 7-8-16. Provided: Campbell County Detention Center. 


  1. Burglary, felony drug trafficking, animal cruelty. But this story is incomplete without the photos of his horses from 2013. Perhaps the author should go to the archives and add those to this story.

  2. The Tea Party must be so proud of him.