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Ohio Criminal Law

Yes, Rolling Coal Is Illegal

Yes, "rolling coal" is illegal. Rolling coal is a form of conspicuous air pollution by anti-environmentalists: "a very public way for conservative drivers to simultaneously broadcast that they aren't worried about whether humans are the cause of global warming and to openly mock the people who are."  Targets of coal rolling often include owners of hybrid vehicles. (hence the nickname "Prius duster") Foreign vehicles, bicyclists and pedestrians are also targets. In addition to environmentalism concerns, it's been noted that this phenomenon also has health risks. Among other risk are respiratory issues. The black smoke can make visibility difficult. Rolling coal is not...

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Ohio Law Offers More Protection Than The 4th Amendment (Sometimes)

Did you know that, in certain circumstances Ohio law affords greater protection to its citizens than the 4th Amendment to the United States Constitution. Here is an example. In State v. Brown, 99 Ohio St.3d 323, 2003-Ohio-3931, 792 N.E.2d 175, officers arrested Dali Jacques Brown, a suspected drug dealer, for jaywalking, a minor misdemeanor, and a search incident to the arrest revealed that Brown had crack cocaine. Id. at ¶ 1-3. The state indicted him for possession of a controlled substance. The trial court, however, suppressed the drug evidence because the officers lacked statutory authority to make an arrest for a...

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Will The Defense Bar Miss Justice Scalia?

I come to bury Caesar, not to praise him. The evil that men do lives after them; The good is oft interrèd with their bones. The above quote from Shakespeare's Julius Caesar sums up many reactions following the death of Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia. The political class and the talking heads quickly lined up behind their respective political biases to either "praise" or "bury" the Justice. It was yet another example of how America has become so divided that we cannot even govern ourselves. "In addition to his fiery rhetoric, his originalism, and his profound impact on his fellow Supreme Court justices and...

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How The Constitution Died In America

This article is about the Constitution.  It is a departure from my norm (a rant really!). "The ability to learn from others is central to the evolution and persistence of culture, and it is viewed as part of the reason humans have come to dominate the planet.  Sometimes individuals copy the behaviors of others seemingly at random; other times they appear to decide who to copy based on the level of prestige of the individual" [Source].  An example is a person who learns to affix a sharpened rock to the end of a stick. We do the same so as to...

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“All I Do Is DUI Defense” And That Inspires Some Reaction

"All I do is DUI defense." There is always that time at a party when someone will ask me what I do for a living. I proudly respond, "All I do is DUI defense." When I tell people what I do, it inspires some mixed responses. Some folks are perplexed that anyone would provide a defense to "those people."  Others attack my integrity and the integrity of the criminal justice system by stating that I am "just in it for the cash"  A more extreme reaction is to get so angry that you wish harm upon me and my family, "I...

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This Constitution Day, Let’s Restore Faith In The Criminal Justice System

The criminal law is precariously balanced between protecting our safety and preserving our freedoms. Good lawyers and good police officers work as adversaries, but in concert, to advocate for the system to be the best it can be. The current climate of "us versus them" is too prevalent in the system and has the potential for disastrous societal ramifications. Policy-makers have imposed agenda driven outside influences on the criminal justice system that make balance hard, if not impossible. When this happens we have decade long imbalance that results in citizens distrusting the system. The "War on Drugs" and Prohibition are examples...

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What If The Prosecutor Won’t File Charges? O.R.C. 2935.09

In a story that is breaking today, family members of Tamir Rice are seeking to skirt local prosecutors and ask a judge to issue warrants for murder against the police officers involved in the case.  The lawyers, tired of waiting for prosecutors to take action, are relying on a rarely used Ohio law to expedite their effort to have two officers charged. The cited statute — Ohio Revised Code 2935.09 — allows anyone with information about illegal activity to file an affidavit for an official to review. It was established in 1960 to give private citizens an avenue when they feel police are...

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A Small Way To Curtail Policing For Profit

Policing for profit is the practice of using the tools of the judiciary (police, municipal courts, probation) to generate revenue for the municipality.  It comes in the form of red-light cameras, speed cameras, license plate readers, speed traps, heavy police traffic enforcement, civil asset forfeitures, high fines and other revenue generating practices. The price of this hidden tax falls most heavily upon the poor who are more likely to find themselves unable to pay and subsequently jailed for minor offenses. It happens here in Ohio and has been addressed by the Ohio Supreme Court. In Ohio, more than 300 "mayor's courts"...

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State Patrol Seat Belt Law Campaign: What Is The Seatbelt Law?

Troopers Will Ticket You For Seat Belt Law Violations Starting Monday! On Monday (May 18, 2015) the Ohio State Highway Patrol will begin a seat belt law enforcement blitz targeting drivers and passengers who are not buckled up. The seat belt crackdown is part of the national Click It or Ticket campaign. What makes this an interesting push by troopers is Ohio's seatbelt law (O.R.C. 4513.263 ) is a secondary offense, meaning that a trooper has to have another reason for pulling you over. Primary seat belt laws allow law enforcement officers to ticket a driver or passenger for not wearing a seat belt,...

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The Day I Served A Warrant!

The Day I Served A Warrant! At the end of my second year of law school, I did an internship at the Meigs County Prosecuting Attorney's Office.  I learned a great deal about criminal law, police procedure and had my first real taste of what it would be like to be an attorney. Near the end of my internship I was told that a wanted felon was spotted near a house.  I was also made aware that there were guns suspected to be in the house.  Meigs County Sheriff James  Soulsby formed a massive team of deputies to go to the house...

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