Grandison Newell filed a complaint with a Justice of the Peace (apparently with Judge Flint in Painesville) charging Joseph Smith with conspiracy to commit murder. The magistrate issued a writ for Smith's arrest. While such writs were theoretically returnable anywhere in Geauga county, they were usually to into the hands of the township constable for execution. In this case, the writ was effectively rendered returnable in Painesville.
A posse of non-Mormons arrived in Kirtland, seeking Joseph Smith's arrest. This unfriendly group probably accompanied a Painesville constable who held the writ authorizing Smith's arrest. The posse found that Smith had left town and was unable to secure his arrest.
[Broadhurst, Dale R., Mormon Chronology, http://olivercowdery.com/history/morchrn2.htm]