Judicial Release

Looking to Get an Early Release From Prison?

Judicial release refers to the process in Ohio whereby a person can be released from prison prior to the original release date. The terms used to describe the early release process vary from state to state. Ohio currently uses the term "judicial release" to describe the process which was formerly referred to as "shock probation." Other states may refer to early release as "parole."

In Ohio, early release from prison is governed by Ohio Revised Code § 2929.20, which is titled "Sentence Reduction Through Judicial Release." An applicant can file a judicial release motion without an attorney; however, hiring a lawyer can give an applicant a greater chance for being accepted for judicial release.

Judicial Release Process in Ohio

One Bite of the Apple

There are many steps that should be taken before a request for a judicial release hearing is filed. It is important for each case to be researched and prepared prior to the hearing, because there will only be one judicial release hearing. Put another way, if the court denies the applicant's request following a hearing, the applicant is not eligible to file a second judicial release request.

Prison History, Certificates of Completion, and Support Letters

The judge considering the judicial release will review the applicant's prison record. The applicant should be prepared to explain any prison infractions. Most judges believe that a positive prison record indicates a higher likelihood of success on post-release control. As a result, a person's prison record should be reviewed prior to filing a judicial release motion.

Prison records can be positive for applicants. For example, if a person successfully completes a course in prison, the certificate of completion can be shown to reflect that person's positive attitude and drive to succeed. All certificates of completion earned by the applicant should be collected.

Support letters from friends, family, and community members should be collected. An experienced attorney will provide instructions for people who are willing to provide letters in support of judicial release so that each letter is professional and effective.

Professional and Straightforward Judicial Release Motion

Most courts have large dockets. Judges are confronted with numerous motions each day. The judicial release motion should succinctly outline the reasons for judicial release and address the applicable statutory factors the judge will consider before ruling upon the motion. Experienced judicial release attorneys will advocate for judicial release in a straightforward manner, addressing all relevant legal factors.

In some cases, the trial and/or sentencing transcript should be reviewed prior to drafting the motion for judicial release. Photos and post-release plans may also be used to help bolster the chances of success.

Pre-Hearing Conference

The pre-hearing conference is one of the most important steps in the process for people applying for judicial release. Given that an applicant is only eligible for one judicial release hearing, it is imperative that the hearing has a high likelihood of success. Most judges will schedule a pre-hearing conference before granting a judicial release hearing. The criminal defense attorney and the prosecuting attorney will attend the conference. The applicant's request and any potential state objections to early release will be addressed. At the end of the hearing, the applicant's attorney should have a good understanding about the chance for success in the event a full hearing is conducted.

The Judicial Release Hearing

If the judge indicates a low probability for success at the full hearing, an experienced attorney will likely withdraw the motion and re-file it again at a later date. In the event judicial release appears likely, a full hearing will be scheduled. A judicial release attorney can help the applicant and family and friends prepare for the full hearing in the event testimony is required.

Experienced Judicial Release Attorneys

If you believe you are eligible for judicial release, ask a friend or family member to contact a judicial release attorney who has a successful track record in judicial release requests. The criminal defense attorneys at Rittgers & Rittgers passionately represent people who are eligible for judicial release throughout Ohio. Call or contact us today to discuss your eligibility and your options.