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Ohio Legal Issues Blog

Golf Cart Injuries: Who is Responsible?

Golf carts are now frequently being used off the course. We see golf carts used in neighborhoods, airports, malls, beaches, and schools, but manufacturers are making and selling tens of thousands of golf carts per year without essential basic safety features.

When an Accused is Charged With a Crime, is the State Permitted to Introduce Evidence of the Accused's Prior Bad Act at the Trial to Attempt to Show the Accused is Likely to Commit Bad Acts and is Therefore Guilty of the Crime in Question?

No. Ohio Rule of Evidence 404(B) outlines a limited set of circumstances during which a prosecutor can attempt to introduce prior bad acts. A prosecutor cannot use a accused's prior bad act to show the accused has a tendency to act wrongfully and from that, attempt to prove the accused therefore must have engaged in wrongful conduct that gave rise to the crime at issue. Instead, a prosecutor may, with the court's permission, use evidence of a prior bad act where the prior bad act would attempt to show proof of motive, opportunity, intent, preparation, plan, knowledge, identity, or absence of mistake or accident. Recently, the Ohio Supreme Court explained this evidentiary rule and applied it a set of facts involving sexual assault.

Staying Healthy Together: Making sense of Miami University's Pledge, the City of Oxford's mass gathering ordinance, and COVID regulations

Are gathering of more than 10 people allowed in at Miami University?

Maybe. Since the University released its Healthy Together Pledge (see my previous blog post here) in the summer of 2020, the City of Oxford has passed its own ordinance governing gatherings.

Can a Defendant Sentenced to Prison Get Jail-Time Credit for House Arrest After Sentencing?

According to the Ohio Supreme Court, the answer is "no." This month, the Ohio Supreme Court issued its decision in State v. Reed, Slip Opinion No. 2020-Ohio-4255. In Reed, the defendant was found guilty of a felony and given five years of community control with a suspended five year prison sentence. After the defendant violated the terms of his community control multiple times, he was placed on house arrest and electronic monitoring. Ultimately, when he admitted to the violations two years from his original community control sentence, the court imposed the suspended five year prison term. The defendant appealed the decision to the Sixth District Court of Appeals, arguing his sentenced should have been reduced because he should have received jail-time credit for the time served on house arrest and electronic monitoring.

If I'm on Social Security benefits and I die, is my family entitled to my benefits?

The answer is yes. Certain family members are eligible to receive the benefits of a deceased Social Security recipient, including:

  • Your widow, if aged 60 or older
  • Your widow who is aged 50 or older and becomes disabled within 7 years of your death
  • Your widow who is caring for your child that is age 16 or younger
  • Your divorced spouse, who has the same eligibility as a widow, provided he or she did not remarry before the age of 50 and the marriage lasted 10 years or longer
  • Your children aged 18 or younger
  • Your disabled child or children as long as their disability began before age 22
  • Your parents, aged 62 or older, if they are dependent upon your for at least half of their support
  • Your stepchildren, grandchildren and adopted children, under certain circumstances 

Do I have to give my phone passcode to the police?

The short answer is no.

The issue as to whether a suspect in a criminal case can be ordered to disclose to the government the passcode to his cell phone has previously been discussed in the blog, "Can the Police Force You to Unlock Your Phone?." Last month, the 5th District Court of Appeals in Florida unequivocally answered that question in the negative in Garcia v. State, 2020 WL 5088056. 

The Little Miami High School Flag Controversy - Protected Speech or a Legitimate Penalty Flag for Inappropriate Expression?

To answer the question of whether the administrators at Little Miami High School had the right to prohibit speech that supports fallen firefighters and police officers who risked and sacrificed their lives on September 11, 2001, we must first understand the First Amendment and Supreme Court case law related to student speech.

$1 Million, Insurance Policy Limits, Recovered for Woman Injured by Dog Bite

A few lessons can be learned from this case. First, a smart business owner should always have at least a million-dollar insurance policy. Second, the lawyer you choose for a serious injury or death case will greatly impact the amount of money recovered and the time it takes to recover the money.

Does Post-Conviction House Arrest Count For Jail Time Credit?

In an update to our previous post on this topic found here: https://www.rittgers.com/blog/2018/05/does-post-conviction-house-arrest-count-for-jail-time-credit.shtml; the Ohio Supreme Court recently held that a defendant is not entitled to days he or she spent in postconviction house arrest. In Ohio v. Reed, 2020-Ohio-4255, the defendant was placed on five years of community control and given a five year suspended prison sentence. Defendant subsequently violated that community control and was placed on house arrest. He was subsequently placed on electronic monitoring after new charges were filed against him.

Ohio Residents And Out Of State OVI Convictions

If you are an Ohio resident and have been convicted of an OVI or DWI in another state that conviction will trigger penalties in Ohio. Following conviction, the state of conviction will send notice to the Ohio BMV. The Ohio BMV will, in turn, suspend your license for six months. The suspension ends on either the last day of the six-month period or the court suspension of the person's nonresident operating privileges, whichever is earlier.

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