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When The Police Are In Hot Pursuit

What does it mean when the police are in hot pursuit? Generally, when the police are hot on the trail of a fleeing suspect they can pursue him or her.   Any search or seizure is limited by the Fourth Amendment to the United States Constitution, which says: “The right of the people to be secure in their person, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no Warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by Oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized.” The Fourth Amendment specifically protects people against the physical entry of their homes. A warrantless entry and search of a private residence is presumptively unreasonable. There are several exceptions to the search warrant requirement: (1) search incident to a lawful arrest; (2) consent signifying waiver of constitutional rights; (3) the stop-and-frisk doctrine (4) hot pursuit; (5) probable cause to search accompanied by the presence of exigent circumstances.   (more…)

Drug Courts

Drug courts can save money by reducing crime and the money spent on resources for individuals charged and convicted of crimes. Rehabilitated offenders are less likely to re-offend, which saves money that would be spent prosecuting such crimes, as well as costs of incarceration.   A drug court is a specialized docket designed to handle cases involving drug-addicted offenders. Individuals that are drug-addicted qualify for the program. Their offenses may directly involve drugs or may be indirectly involved with drugs. The direct offenses include possession of drugs and low-level drug trafficking offenses. Indirect offenses include theft and forgery. Many individuals disqualify themselves by failing to acknowledge the first step to recovery: admitting you have a problem. Often, when asked if they have a problem with drugs or alcohol, they tell drug counselors, drug assessors, probation officers and judges that they do not have a problem. These same individuals may consume over 25 drinks per week, may use marijuana daily or may have lost jobs, marriages, or even their children due to their own use of drugs or alcohol. Because drug addiction is a requirement for the program, their admission to the program, including its many benefits, is denied.  Those who admit they have a problem with drugs or alcohol stand a much better chance of admission to the program.   (more…)

Filing Tax Returns During A Pending Divorce

In my practice, I frequently confront the question of filing tax returns during a pending divorce, whether they should file an individual or joint return and what they should do with the refund. The other issue is whether the parties should file an individual or joint return.   Filing tax returns during a pending divorce depends on the situation. First, in the vast majority of divorces, there are restraining orders prohibiting the parties from disposing of assets and possibly even filing tax returns in the absence of a court order or mutual agreement. Therefore, going off on one’s own, filing an individual tax return and keeping the refund could be grounds for contempt.   (more…)

Prosecutorial Misconduct

What is prosecutorial misconduct?  Improper remarks during trial, failure to disclose exculpatory evidence and knowing use of perjured testimony are just a few examples.  Sometimes, a prosecutor’s misconduct amounts to grounds for reversible error under Ohio Revised Code 2945.79 (R.C. 2945.79).   What comments can give rise to prosecutorial misconduct?  The following examples are remarks that can deprive the defendant of a fair trial:  
  1. Adversely commenting on a defendant’s failure to testify at trial.
  2. Use of a defendant’s silence before or after arrest as substantive evidence of guilt.
  3. Unfair or derogatory personal references to defense counsel during trial.

Can A Person Waive The Right To Remain Silent?

Can a person waive the right to remain silent?  The Fifth Amendment to the United States Constitution guarantees the right to remain silent, often referred to as “pleading the fifth.”  Ohio also guarantees this right in Article 1, Section 10 of the Ohio Constitution.   In the United States Supreme Court’s landmark decision in Miranda v. Arizona, 384 U.S. 436 (1966), the court said that the following warnings must be given prior to a custodial interrogation:   (more…)

Police Took The Suspect Into Custody

What does it mean when someone says that the police took the suspect into custody?  There are a number of factors that courts use to determine whether a person is in custody.  Why is this important?  Miranda warnings must be given if a suspect is questioned while in custody.  If the warnings are not given, the suspect’s answers cannot be used at trial.   The factors as set forth by the United States Supreme Court in Rhode Island v. Innis, 446 U.S. 291 (1980), are as follows:
  1. Did the person feel free to leave at that location (home vs. police station);
  2. Was the person a suspect at the time the questioning began;
  3. Was the person’s freedom to leave restricted in any way;
  4. Was the person handcuffed or told he or she was under arrest;
  5. Were threats made during the questioning;
  6. Was the person physically intimidated during the questioning;
  7. Did the police verbally dominate the questioning;
  8. What was the person’s purpose for being at the place the questioning took place;
  9. Were neutral parties present at any point during the questioning;
  10. Did the police try to overpower, trick or coerce the person into making a statement.

What Jail Time Credit Will Be Applied?

One question that frequently arises at sentencing is what jail time credit will be applied?  Time spent in confinement can be credited against a sentence.  Confinement includes jail and community based correctional facility (CBCF).  Treatment can count if the defendant was confined there.  In order to get credit, the person had to be in custody for the case that is proceeding to sentencing.  In other words, the person cannot get credit for time served on another charge or other case.   (more…)

Ohio Outlaws Debtors’ Prison

The Ohio Supreme Court has ordered Ohio courts to stop reviving debtors’ prison.  In other words, Ohio outlaws debtors’ prison.  In February 2014, the high court indicated that it would not tolerate the court’s imprisoning people who could not afford to pay fines and costs.   What is debtors’ prison?   (more…)

Minimum Amount Of Child Support

Is there a minimum amount of child support that a court must order?  Yes, there is.  Courts usually order guideline support, which is the amount of support calculated under the child support guidelines.  However, Ohio Revised Code 3119.06 (R.C. 3119.06) requires the court to order a minimum child support order of $50 per month.  If the person is not working and receiving needs-based assistance, then, while the arrearages accrue, the obligation to pay child support is suspended as long as the person is complying with a seek-work order.   Even though the statute says that is the lowest amount, is it?  No.  Ohio law also allows the court to order one to pay less than $50 per month or not require any child support if the parent ordered to pay has a medically verified or documented physical or mental disability or institutionalization for mental illness.   (more…)

Good Faith Exception

The police need reasonable suspicion that a crime has been committed prior to pulling someone over or temporarily detaining them. The police need probable cause to arrest someone.  Even if the police are wrong, as long as they acted in good faith, the stop, detention or arrest is still valid.  This is known as the good faith exception.  If the criminal record computer system, otherwise known as LEADS, shows that someone has an arrest warrant, the police can arrest the person.  Even if that computer entry later turned out to be wrong and the warrant was quashed well before the arrest was made, the arrest is still valid because the police were acting on good faith reliance on the computer records.  The computer records, which includes LEADS and BMV records, tells police the person’s record, whether the driver’s license is valid, active warrants, active civil protection orders, and violent tendency warnings. (more…)

Barberton Divorce Attorney

What is a Barberton divorce attorney? A Barberton divorce lawyer provides representation for divorce, dissolution, post-decree motions, paternity complaint, child custody, child support, civil protection orders, and motion to modify parental rights and responsibilities. Where both parents are Barberton residents, such cases would originate in the Summit County Domestic Relations Court, 205 S. High Street, Akron, Ohio 44308. This article will limit the scope to outlining the basic hearings for  divorces, dissolutions, and paternity cases, but does not set out every possible motion or procedure in such cases. (more…)

Barberton Criminal Defense Attorney

What is a Barberton criminal defense attorney? A Barberton criminal defense lawyer provides defense for a variety of criminal cases.  Such cases include traffic cases, such as speeding, driving under suspension (DUS), leaving the scene of an accident (hit skip), and DUI or OVI.  A Barberton criminal lawyer provides defense for misdemeanor cases, including assault, domestic violence, petty theft and disorderly conduct.  A Barberton criminal attorney provides defense for felony cases, including felony theft, trafficking in drugs, sex crimes, and felony DUI or felony OVI.  This is not a complete list, as the number of crimes fill books and are too numerous to list here. What is the criminal justice system like for a person accused of a crime in Barberton? There are numerous possibilities, but this article will describe the typical procedures.  For example, referrals to diversion or intervention in lieu of conviction are not discussed within the frameworks described below. (more…)

Medina Divorce Attorney

What is a Medina divorce attorney? A Medina divorce lawyer provides representation for divorce, dissolution, post-decree motions, paternity complaint, child custody, child support, civil protection orders, and motion to modify parental rights and responsibilities. Where both parents are Medina residents, such cases would originate in the Medina County Domestic Relations Court, 99 Public Square, Medina, Ohio 44256. This article will limit the scope to outlining the basic hearings for  divorces, dissolutions, and paternity cases, but does not set out every possible motion or procedure in such cases. (more…)