Criminal charges are scary. A criminal conviction, even a misdemeanor, carries several collateral consequences including employment restrictions, incarceration, lost school opportunities, and reputational costs. Fighting criminal charges can be costly and stressful.
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.
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.
"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."
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.
When most Americans hear the phrase "double jeopardy" it usually brings to mind one of two scenarios: 1) a chance for a contestant to score big on the TV gameshow "Jeopardy!", or 2) the idea that you cannot be tried twice for the same crime. While recently the former has been getting a lot of attention in the news, the United States Supreme Court had an opportunity to provide very important insight into the latter.
If you are being questioned by the police and want a lawyer, you need to make a clear statement indicating you want a lawyer before your right to counsel is triggered.
Laws and regulations can be passed at the city, county, state and federal levels. Laws tend to pile up in the dark and dusty corners of government. We rarely go back and clean out these old laws by officially repealing them. As a result, there are some truly strange laws that stayed on the books long past the point where they were useful. Here is just a sliver of the odd laws that apparently made sense to officials at the time.
Butler County Judge Charles Pater has refused to preside over future cases involving sex crimes. His recusal is due to a written admission issued two months ago stating he may have been biased in sentencing a defendant based upon Judge Pater's own personal experience with a family member who was a victim of a sex crime.
Those with a history of low-level drug and theft charges that were previously prevented from having their cases expunged will be happy to know that the law has changed. Starting this year, the Ohio legislature has expanded the number and type of cases that can be expunged. This will benefit those who have long been haunted by past mistakes on background checks.