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Civil rights: December 2016 Archives

The Ohio Supreme Court overturns itself to allow wrongfully convicted defendants access to public records to challenge their convictions without having to rely on bureaucratic grace or mistake.

Yesterday, the Ohio Supreme Court overturned its own precedent and issued a significant ruling for Ohioans seeking to challenge their convictions, and for Ohio public-records law generally. In State ex rel. Caster v. City of Columbus, et al., Slip Op. No. 2016-Ohio-8394, the Court ruled that Ohio's public-records exception for "specific investigatory work product" ends when the trial of the underlying criminal case concludes. In other words, once a criminal trial is over, state and local law-enforcement agencies can no longer withhold documents related to that criminal case on the ground that the documents contain information that law-enforcement officials have assembled in connection with a probable or pending criminal proceeding. This means that wrongfully convicted criminal defendants will now have access to information that may be critical in exonerating them, before their time for post-conviction challenge has completely run out.

Chandra Law wins Ohio Supreme Court victory for crime victims: civil damages can be recovered for criminal acts

Today, the Ohio Supreme Court held in favor of Chandra Law Firm client Jessica Jacobson and confirmed that an Ohio statute, R.C. 2307.60(A)(1) "Civil Action for Damages for Criminal Act," creates an independent cause of action for crime victims to recover full damages in civil actions against perpetrators. Jacobson v. Kaforey, Slip. Op. No. 2016-Ohio-8434. The Court's affirmation of an "independent" cause of action means that crime victims will no longer have to scour the law for statutes or cases authorizing recovery for the specific crime by which they were victimized.

Victory: State Rep. Christina Hagan resigns as Trump presidential Electoral College member, having violated Ohio's Constitution by serving dual public offices

Canton, OH ― In a victory for Ohio voters and the Ohio Constitution, Ohio 50th District State Representative Christina Hagan (R-Alliance) has belatedly resigned as a member of the presidential Electoral College. The Electoral College is slated to meet at noon today, December 19, in the state capitol in Columbus.  Hagan was facing a complaint and motion for a temporary restraining order before Judge John Haas of Canton, showing that Hagan, by serving as both a member of Ohio's General Assembly and presidential elector, was violating Article II, Section 4 of the Ohio Constitution. Her vote would have been illegal. Lead counsel for Plaintiffs Deborah L. Cain and Andrew J. DiLiddo, Hagan's constituents, said, "This is a victory for Ohioans who believe in integrity in

Chandra Law clients seek restraining order against Ohio State Rep. Christina Hagan, noting that by serving as presidential Electoral College member, she's violating Ohio Constitution's prohibition against holding dual public offices

Canton, OH ― Chandra Law today served a complaint and emergency motion for temporary restraining order against Ohio 50th House District Representative Christina Hagan (R-Alliance) alleging that her status as a presidential Electoral College member is illegal, and that her anticipated December 19, 2016 noon intended vote for Donald Trump for president and Mike Pence for vice president would violate Ohio's Constitution. Plaintiffs Deborah L. Cain of Uniontown and Andrew J. DiLiddo of Canton―both Hagan constituents―assert that Hagan's Electoral College membership violates Ohio Constitution, Article II, Section 4. That provision bars an Ohio General Assembly member from also serving as a federal or other state public official―unless that member first resigns from her assembly seat. The Ohio Supreme Court in 1948 observed that the office of Ohio presidential elector is a state office

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