Jon Horwitz's Blog Posts

About Jon Horwitz

Jon Horwitz is an experienced criminal defense lawyer dedicated to helping people charged of a crime. He is dedicated to providing honest, straightforward advice and advocacy in order to get the best possible result for each client. Jon currently lives in Centerville with his wife and two children. He coaches basketball through the Centerville Hustle organization and is a former soccer coach. He continues to play soccer and is an avid fan of the sport. Jon Horwitz's Google+ Profile

Ohio Legislature Amends Intervention in Lieu of Conviction (ILC) Statute, Broadening Eligibility

Intervention in Lieu of Conviction or ILC is a program in which an eligible offender charged with a low-level non-violent felony offense, who committed the offense due to drug or alcohol usage or mental illness or intellectual disability, has the opportunity to obtain a dismissal of the charge(s) after completing court-ordered treatment.  This is a huge opportunity for a person be rehabilitated, without having the stigma and complications resulting from a felony conviction.

Originally, ILC was limited to first-time offenders.  Through a series of amendments to the statute, ILC was made available to offenders with a prior non-violent felony conviction, but only if participation was recommended by the prosecuting attorney.  As you would expect, recommendations from the prosecuting attorney were often few and far between.  Furthermore, offenders who have already “been through” ILC in the past were ineligible to participate in ILC again in a subsequent case.

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Ohio Legislature Amended Nonsupport Statute to Negate State v. Pittman

In January 2017, I posted a blog article discussed December 23, 2016, in the case of State v. Pittman, 2014-Ohio-5001, in which the Ohio Supreme Court held that a person could not be criminally prosecuted for failing to make the payments set forth in an arrearage-only order issued after the date of his children’s emancipation.  The reason behind the decision was that the Nonsupport of Dependents statute, RC 2919.21(B), stated: “No person shall abandon, or fail to provide support as established by a court order to, another person whom, by court order or decree, the person is legally obligated to support.”  In determining the intent behind the statute, the Court focused on the word “is” to show the meaning, stating “RC 2919.21(B) is ambiguous.  It criminalizes a person’s failure to support – in the matter established by a court order – another person whom he is legally obligated to support.  Because the statute uses the present tense in the phrase ‘is legally obligated to support,’ a person charged with a violation must be under a current obligation to provide support.”

Thus, based on Pittman, a person who had a minor child and failed to pay a minimum $50 per month child support order and was $1,000 in arrears could be criminal prosecuted, while a person who had an adult child and no current child support order, but was $100,000 in arrears could not be prosecuted.

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Consumer Fireworks in Ohio – A Few Highlights

Firework Fourth of July

With the 4th of July quickly approaching, in addition to attending community firework displays, many people enjoy purchasing and shooting off their own fireworks.  The laws governing fireworks in Ohio are among the most restrictive in the country.  Because fireworks are readily available for purchase and use in nearby states, many Ohio residents assume Ohio has similar laws and are not well informed on the issue.

The purpose of this article is to provide a few highlights of the Ohio laws governing consumer fireworks.  For further information, please consult Ohio Revised Code (ORC) Chapter 3743, the Ohio Fire Code (OFC) 1301:7-7-56, and the Ohio Department of Commerce, Division of State Fire Marshall.

Consumer fireworks are referred in Ohio law as “1.4G Fireworks”.  These are fireworks that may be found in a licensed fireworks showroom and sold to the public at various retail locations across Ohio.  If you choose to purchase 1.4G fireworks, you have 48 hours to take the fireworks out of Ohio.  Purchasers must sign a form stating the destination to which the fireworks will be taken.  The only items that can be used in Ohio are designated “trick and novelty” which smoke, pop, and/or sparkle.  In Ohio, use of 1.4G fireworks (firecrackers, bottle rockets, etc.) is illegal.

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UPDATE New Ohio Law Goes into Effect 1-18-18 regarding Mugshot Extortion Websites

Earlier this year, I posted the following blog entry regarding Ohio House Bill 6, addressed at ending the practice in Ohio of private mugshot or criminal record websites that require the payment of a fee from an individual in order to have his/her mugshot or criminal records from the site.

Fortunately, this Bill was enacted into law and goes into effect on January 18, 2018.  The new Ohio Revised Code section 2927.22(B) states “No person engaged in publishing or otherwise disseminating criminal record information (i.e., a booking photograph or the name, address, charges filed, or description of a subject individual who is asserted or implied to have engaged in illegal conduct) through a print or electronic medium shall negligently solicit or accept from a subject individual the payment of a fee or other consideration to remove, correct, modify, or refrain from publishing or otherwise disseminating criminal record information.”  Violation of this section is a misdemeanor of the first degree, and each payment solicited or accepted in violation of this section constitutes a separate violation. [Read more…]

Ohio’s Safe Haven Law

It’s hard to witness the current media storm surrounding Brooke Skylar Richardson and not wonder whether she (and/or her family) was aware of Ohio’s Safe Haven Law. In case you are from outside the Southwest Ohio area or live in a vacuum, Richardson is the 18-year-old Carlisle woman who was accused of giving birth to a baby several days after her high school prom, killing it, burning the body and burying it in her backyard. She has been indicted for Aggravated Murder, Involuntary Manslaughter, Endangering Children, Tampering with Evidence, and Abuse of a Corpse. The case is set to go to trial sometime in the next several months.

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Second District Court of Appeals Holds that Suppression of Defendant’s Statements to Police was Proper

On May 19, 2017, the Second District Court of Appeals issued a decision affirming the Montgomery County Common Pleas Court’s ruling suppressing statements made to a detective at the Huber Heights Police Department.

In the case of State v. Villegas, 2017-Ohio-2887, Villegas was arrested outside a Huber Heights shopping center, having been found in possession of dozens of counterfeit or cloned credit cards in his vehicle. Villegas was taken to the Huber Heights Police Department, where he was placed in a holding cell. Villegas was later taken to an interview room in the detective section of the police department, where a detective read Villegas his Miranda rights using a pre-interview form. Villegas declined to speak to the detective, and he did not initial or sign the form. The detective asked no additional questions, and Villegas did not request an attorney. Villegas was then escorted back to the holding cell.

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Ohio Supreme Court finds the Warrantless Search of Student’s Unattended Book Bag did not violate the Fourth Amendment

On May 11, 2017, the Ohio Supreme Court issued a decision in State v. Polk, reversing the decisions of the Franklin Court of Common Pleas and the Tenth District Court of Appeals.  The facts are as follows: A school bus driver found a book bag that was left on the bus.  The driver removed the bag from the bus and turned it over to the school safety officer.  The school had an unwritten policy to search unattended book bags to identify the owners and to ensure that there was no contraband contained in the book bags.  [Read more…]

Second District Court of Appeals Holds Canine Sniff Invalid

On May 5, 2017, the Second District Court of Appeals issued a decision affirming the Darke County Common Pleas Court’s ruling suppressing evidence obtained from a canine sniff of a suspect’s vehicle during a traffic stop.

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Fifth District Court of Appeals Holds that Consent Search Invalid

On March 22, 2017, the Fifth District Court of Appeals issued a decision affirming the Perry County Common Pleas Court’s ruling suppressing evidence obtained from the consent to search a suspect’s purse.

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6 Urgent Questions Answered About Civil Demand Letters

This issue comes up quite frequently.  A person gets caught shoplifting from a store.  He is detained by loss prevention officers.  The stolen property is recovered.  He is served with a trespass notice, barring him from returning to the store.  In some cases, the police are not contacted.  The person goes home angry with himself, but relieved that he does not have a criminal case to worry about.  In other cases, the police are contacted and criminal charges are filed.  The person goes to court, gets the case resolved.  The person pays fines, court costs, and restitution for any items that were damaged or not recovered and thinks that the case is finally over and that he can put this incident behind him. [Read more…]