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Felon Challenges Ohio Law That Got Him Fired

CLEVELAND (CN) - A school custodian who was fired over his felony record from 1966 has challenged an Ohio law barring convicted felons from working in state schools, claiming its retroactive application violates the state and federal Constitutions.

Clarence Swan filed suit in Cuyahoga County Court, claiming he was fired based on O.R.C. 3319.39, which "does not allow a school board to hire or retain an individual who has been previously convicted or plead guilty to any of a comprehensive list of offenses."

Swan was convicted of first-degree murder in 1966 and started working for the school district in 1992, which at that time did not require disclosure of his criminal record.

Swan claims the law is unconstitutional because it prevents him from working, even though he was convicted before the law went into effect in 2004.

He is suing the state of Ohio, the school district's Board of Education and the Ohio Department of Education for wrongful termination, emotional distress and economic damages.

Swan demands reinstatement, with full back pay and benefits. He also wants the court to deem it unconstitutional to apply the law retroactively.

His attorney is David Lynch in Wickliffe, Ohio.

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