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Ohio Legal Issues Blog

Amendment To Ohio's Intervention In Lieu Of Conviction Law

Ohio has recently changed its Intervention in lieu of conviction ("ILC") statute, and the change greatly benefits defendants across the State. ILC provides for a program allowing certain categories of offenders to receive assistance and/or treatment in order avoid the ramifications of a felony conviction. It is not designed as punishment, but instead is an opportunity for certain offenders to address the underlying issues that contributed to their criminal charges and, in turn, receive a dismissal of his or her criminal charges. For more information on ILC, see our previous blog post on the topic

I Plead Guilty, But Now I'm Facing This? What Can I Do?

In our criminal defense practice, it is not uncommon for a potential client to call us to ask about withdrawing a guilty plea they entered in the past. Depending on the circumstances, this can be very challenging. However, it can be done.

When someone wants to withdraw a guilty plea they regret entering the guilty plea usually because of a negative consequence or consequences that have come about that were unforeseen at the time the individual entered the guilty plea. 

When Can a Survivor Terminate Parental Rights

The State of Maryland is making news this week in catching up to most of the rest of county by unanimously passing a bill that is expected to be signed by the governor that will allow victims of rape or sexual assault to terminate parental rights of their attackers. Maryland's proposed law goes further than many other states in that it does not require a conviction or guilty plea to rape or sexual assault but rather just a finding that there was "clear and convincing" evidence of the attack.

It has really only been in the last five years that laws severing rights of such attac kers have spread across the nation. Even though Ohio is not one of the six remaining states that allows attackers to request parenting rights, Ohio does require a finding of guilty or a plea on a rape charge or sexual assault before any parenting rights will be terminated. 

"But the victim wants to drop the charges..."

It is very common for clients, or the family of a client, to believe that a criminal charge-usually assault, domestic violence, violation of a protection order, or the like-will be dismissed because "the victim wants to drop the charges." They believe that because the alleged victim called 911, or told the police that a crime happened, that the alleged victim herself controls whether the case will be prosecuted.

But this commonly-held belief is wrong. 

Finding full value in injury cases; do not focus on economic loss

What is the value of our life, liberty, or happiness? Many people in the legal world fail to fully understand the human losses in injury and death cases. This is true for plaintiff personal injury lawyers who represent the injured or killed person and it is true for the insurance industry and their defense lawyers.

FedEx Trucking Policy Places Public At Risk; FedEx Places Profits Over People

We pride ourselves on pursuing the truth for families following a truck crash. Too frequently these crashes could have been prevented and too frequently truck companies refuse to treat a family fairly after taking the life of a loved one. Compensation will not bring a human being back to life but it will help relieve additional stress following a catastrophic truck crash.

We are highlighting a policy by a logistics company that works for FedEx to show why change is needed in the trucking industry. Surviving family members and the need for change is what drives us. 

Can a sealed conviction be used to enhance a subsequent charge?

Under Ohio law a sealed conviction can be used to enhance a subsequent charge. Even after a conviction has been sealed Ohio law permits disclosure of it in certain instances. Ohio Revised Code § 2953.32(D)(1) allows for inspection of a record "[b]y a law enforcement officer or prosecutor, or the assistants of either, to determine whether the nature and character of the offense with which a person is to be charged would be affected by virtue of the person's previously having been convicted of a crime."

Obviously, there may be practical issues that arise with respect to whether the prosecutor or law enforcement would be able to discover or know where to look to find the sealed conviction, but if they are able to discover it then it is able to be used against the Defendant. 

Where we are with Title IX Hearings: The DeVos Interim Guidance

In September of 2017 Secretary of Education Besty DeVos formally announced the withdrawal of the 2014 "Dear Colleague Letter" and replaced it with new "Interim Guidance" designed to bridge the gap until new rules are implemented. Many students who are caught up in a university Title IX Hearing during this interim period have questions about how this decision affects them. Let's talk about what this Interim Guidance is, and what it is not: 

Proving a negative, Part II: Miami University Hearings

Chapter 2.1 of Miami University's Code of Student Conduct ("the Code") explains the standard used by the University to determine if an accused student is responsible for violating the Code. According to the Code, the standard of "preponderance" is satisfied "by the information that has the most convincing force," and that a student will be found responsible if he or she admits responsibility or if the information provided to the University demonstrates "by a preponderance of the available information that the person is responsible."

But the Code never states who bears the burden of proof. Is it the accuser or the accused? While the Code does state that a "presumption of responsibility should not be made as the result of allegations," the Code does not provide a presumption of innocence or "no responsibility" for the accused student. Instead the Code says the University should be neutral as to the level of responsibility of the accused student for the alleged misconduct. This is a very important distinction from the presumption of innocence that exists in American law. 

Proving a negative: Being the accused in a university disciplinary hearing

Most people, here in America and across the globe, are familiar with a legal principle known as “the presumption of innocence.” This concept is more commonly referred to in pop culture and everyday conversation as “innocent until proven guilty.”

While the phrase “innocent until proven guilty” may be a common thread in Hollywood or modern-day legal themed literature, the principle itself is very old. Even in the time of the Roman Empire, the idea that an individual was presumed to be without fault unless his or her accuser could prove otherwise was written into the law. This principle has been adopted into modern law here in America and across the globe—the United Nations declared the presumption of innocence to be an international human right.

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