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Ohio Legal Issues Blog

Murder: Life In Prison, Sometimes Death Row

In Ohio, a person charged with murder is accused of killing another human being purposefully; in other words, "murder" is when someone intends to kill another person. If no intent to kill exists, then it's not "murder." Anyone that is convicted of murder must be sentenced to life in prison, no exceptions. However, sometimes a conviction for murder can also result in the death penalty.

The crime of murder is one of many crimes in Ohio that covers actions that cause the death of another human being-or in legalese: homicide. While in everyday conversations we use "murder" to cover a broad range of different crimes, Ohio law has seven different offenses, of varying degrees of punishment, for what we all think of as "murder." 

False Confessions - They Happen All The Time

Most people believe that they would "never confess to a crime that they didn't commit." And yet, 38% of juveniles who were later found to be not guilty involved false confessions1. The Innocence Project found that 25% of cases where a convicted defendant was later released after DNA proved s/he was innocent involved false confessions2.

Why would people ever admit to committing crime if they were not guilty? The interrogation methods used by the police heavily influence the statements of the people they are interviewing. If a person feels tricked, confused, or like s/he must agree with what the police officer tells them is true, a false confession can occur.

Ohio Is Leading The Way For Change

Notaries are very important to law firms in order to bind documents and ensure documents are being executed properly. Now, Ohio is leading the way for change pertaining to a more modern way of notarizing documents.

Soon, electronic notarization will be allowed to make authenticating documents easier and faster. 

The (Un)Reliability of Witness Testimony

"But I have an eyewitness!" Criminal lawyers so often turn to this phrase thinking that it is the silver bullet in a negotiation or trial. A recent New York Times piece, however, cites the growing body of evidence that ""eyewitness testimony is the least reliable evidence you can have."

Historically, criminal attorneys have attacked the reliability of eyewitnesses through asking questions about the witnesses' perceptions, prejudices, and contradictory statements. It turns out that we should have been asking about the witness's hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal axis instead. Why? This is the stress-response mechanism in the body that "causes a person to have tunnel vision in the extreme or a really narrow snapshot of what happened." 

Injury Law Firms Restricted From Sending Mail Solicitations After Car Crashes

Good news! The Ohio legislature has passed House Bill 166, a law that prevents attorneys and health providers from soliciting or otherwise communicating with victims of motor vehicle accidents for thirty days following the accident. It will take effect in the coming months - likely October of this year.

For years, injury victims of motor vehicle accidents have received literally dozens of phone calls and mailings from predatory lawyers and health providers, who use police scanners and telemarketers to find out about the accident and then pressure the injured into hiring them. Many of these firms are not even from the area they solicit. The mailers come at a sensitive time, when the injured person is trying to heal from often devastating injuries and in most cases the solicitation is unwelcome. House Bill 166, aptly-named the "Embargo" law, protects the injured from this onslaught of stressful solicitation. 

Hemp Legalization and Implications on Marijuana Law Enforcement and Prosecution

As of July 30, 2019, hemp became legal in the State of Ohio. The difference between marijuana and hemp could be an important legal defense in drug trafficking and drug possession cases.

What is hemp? Like marijuana, hemp is a species of cannabis but has different properties than marijuana. Hemp is used for construction materials, fabrics and clothing, animal bedding, and potentially a cover crop for farmers. 

Are You Really Fully Covered?

When most of us purchase comprehensive insurance, bundling homeowners and auto insurance, we believe we are fully covered for all accidents that might happen. However, even though insurance companies advertise with catchy phrases that promise full coverage and protection, a close look at the policy often shows that is not true. Insurance companies often use tricky language that write exceptions into policies that allow them to deny coverage. And then we're stuck with paying for damages we expected to be covered.

Recently we were hired to represent a man who was badly injured when his relative lost control of a golf cart they were riding in, throwing our client off the cart. His relative thought he had full coverage through three separate policies with reputable insurance carriers, both home and auto. 

Medical Authorizations

Most Americans are aware of HIPPA regulations and the fact that our medical records are protected by law as private. A person or corporation needs a medical authorization to gain access to a medical record.

Injury claims - why does the insurance company get a medical authorization?

Insurance companies will almost always request a blanket medical authorization when evaluating your injury claim. If you sign a blanket authorization, the carrier will request ALL of your medical records, going back many years, even for treatment that has nothing to do with your claim. This is an insurance defense tactic to shame, embarrass, and harass injury victims. 

A Lesson Learned: The Importance of Hiring an Injury Attorney

Recently, a gentleman called our office because his wife had fractured her arm in a boating accident. He said that he and his wife made a claim with Progressive Insurance Company and were assured by the Progressive adjuster that a fair settlement could be reached without the need for attorneys to be involved. Ultimately, Progressive offered to pay $5,000 for medical bills and 50,000 for her pain and suffering. He and his wife felt that the offer was fair, settled the claim with Progressive and signed paperwork releasing Progressive and the at fault person for any future claims.

Unfortunately, his wife's health insurance company paid $100,000 in medical bills and demanded to be paid out of the settlement proceeds. Progressive did not inform the man and his wife of their obligations to pay the health insurance company out of the settlement. The law in Ohio requires repayment of medical bills from settlements. Sadly, these people had already signed a settlement release which precluded their ability to obtain more money from Progressive to satisfy the health insurance company's lien. 

Ohio Amusement Park Attorneys

We all love summer and the joy and thrill of amusement parks. Occasionally parks do not take the appropriate measures to keep patrons safe. That's where we come in. We have successfully handled numerous claims throughout Ohio against amusement parks. We hope that our work has helped lessen the impact of injury for impacted families and improved the safety at parks. 

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