BUCKEYE LAKE – Noel Joyce, 49, who was sentenced to two years and six months is state prison after being found guilty of funneling money to convicted former Buckeye Lake Council member John Cortez and then lying about his involvement, was released from prison to a halfway house as part of the state’s Transitional Control Program Nov. 29, nearly six months ahead of his stated release date of April 19, 2011.
Nov. 2008, Licking County Common Pleas Judge Thomas Marcelain sentenced Joyce to two years in prison on one count of perjury and six months for one count of obstruction of justice for a total of two and a half years. He was also fined $1,000 on each count and originally received three years of probation. Perjury is a third degree felony and obstruction of justice is a fifth degree felony.
Cortez, 44, is serving a 17- year prison term for 23 felony counts of unlawful sexual conduct with minors, one count of providing cocaine to minors, and a felony weapons charge.
Licking County Assistant Prosecutor Tracy Van Winkle previously said Joyce used Cortez’ power of attorney to withdraw money from Cortez’ bank account. She said Joyce used an alias to wire money to pick up points near Myrtle Beach, where Cortez fled to avoid arrest. Van Winkle said she believes Cortez and Joyce were in direct phone contact several times before Joyce told a grand jury he didn’t do so. Van Winkle added that Joyce had a criminal history dating back 25 years.
Ohio Department of Rehabilitation and Correction spokesperson JoEllen Smith said the Transitional Control program is available to inmates whom the Ohio Parole Board reviews and determines to be eligible. Upon the sentencing judge’s approval, inmates placed on Transitional Control are transferred to a halfway house to complete up to the last 180 days of their prison terms.
The Adult Parole Authority supervises Transitional Control offenders, and halfway house personnel in partnership with the supervising officer provide case management services. If the former inmates are employed and doing well in the program, Transitional Control offenders may be stepped down on electronic monitoring in an appropriate home placement. Smith said the emphasis of the Transitional Control program is to provide offenders with resources for employment, education, vocational training, and treatment so that they may transition to their home communities more successfully.
Cortez’ scheduled release date is Feb. 7, 2025.