Coronavirus (COVID-19) and its Impact on Criminal Cases

In light of COVID-19 and its unprecedented impact on our entire way of living, I will briefly discuss several temporary changes pertaining to Criminal Cases in Southwest Ohio, with special emphasis on Montgomery and Warren Counties.

  1. JAILS ARE LESS LIKELY TO ACCEPT NEW INMATES INTO THEIR FACILITIES. To slow down the spread of this pandemic, jail populations have been reduced to minimize the risk to staff and inmates.  It appears that only the highest risk offenders (violent offenders, history of fleeing) are being booked into the jails.

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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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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 Legislature Seeks to Stop Extortion Mugshot Websites

On March 15, 2017, the Ohio House passed House Bill 6 (by a vote of 88-4) which is intended to prohibit 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. On March 16, 2017, the Bill was introduced to the Ohio Senate for its consideration. Horwitz & Horwitz, LLC applauds the efforts of the Ohio Legislature in protecting the rights of Ohio citizens. [Read more…]

Tenth District Court of Appeals Upholds Trial Court’s Decision Invalidating OVI Arrest

On February 28, 2017, the Tenth District Court of Appeals issued a decision affirming the Franklin County Municipal Court’s ruling suppressing evidence and invalidating an OVI arrest, due to the lack of probable cause.

In the case of State v. Bracken, 2017-Ohio-721, the Tenth District issued a rather brief decision explaining its reasoning.  The relevant portions state as follows: [Read more…]

Stop & Search of Bicyclist

On December 16, 2016, the Second District Court of Appeals issued a decision affirming the Montgomery County Common Pleas Court’s ruling suppressing evidence seized by police from a bicyclist.

In the case of State v. Swift, 2016-Ohio-8191, Defendant Swift was riding his bicycle in the “travel part” of East Fourth Street in Dayton, Ohio, when Dayton Police officers observed him from their marked cruiser.  The police did a U-turn and approached Swift [Read more…]

Ohio Supreme Court Holds that Prior Juvenile Adjudications are not Prior “Convictions” for Subsequent Adult Offenses

Ohio Revised Code section 2901.08(A) states:

If a person is alleged to have committed an offense and if the person previously has been adjudicated a delinquent child or juvenile traffic offender for a violation of a law or ordinance, except as provided in division (B) of this section, the adjudication as a delinquent child or as a juvenile traffic offender is a conviction for a violation of the law or ordinance for purposes of determining the offense with which the person should be charged and, if the person is convicted of or pleads guilty to an offense, the sentence to be imposed upon the person relative to the conviction or guilty plea. [Read more…]

Ohio Supreme Court Holds that in Cocaine Cases the State Must Prove the Weight of Actual Cocaine, Excluding the Weight of Any Filler Materials

On December 23, 2016, the Ohio Supreme Court rendered a landmark decision in State v. Gonzales, settling a dispute amongst appellate courts regarding the interpretation of Ohio Revised Code section 2925.11, as it pertains to the determination of weight in cocaine cases. [Read more…]

Ohio Supreme Court Invalidates Portion of Statute Permitting Consecutive Sentences for Felony and Misdemeanor Offenses


On February 25, 2016, the Ohio Supreme Court issued a decision in State v. Polus that invalidated a provision of Revised Code section 2929.41, which pertains to Concurrent and Consecutive Sentences. (Concurrent Sentence = more than one sentence served at the same time; Consecutive Sentence = more than one sentence served one after the other.) [Read more…]

Can my Juvenile Court OVI count as a Prior Conviction if I get charged with an OVI (DUI) as an Adult?

An OVI (DUI) offense is one of a number of criminal and traffic offenses in which a prior conviction of that same offense can result in being charged with a higher degree violation and/or being subjected to increased penalties.  When charged with an OVI offense under Section 4511.19 of the Ohio Revised Code.  For example, having prior convictions for OVI may “enhance” a subsequent OVI charge, resulting in a felony, rather than a misdemeanor charge.  Prior OVI convictions will also often result in more serious consequences, even if the degree of the offense is not increased.  The question I often receive is whether a prior OVI case in Juvenile Court can be used to enhance a subsequent OVI committed as an adult.

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