Vehicular Homicide & Vehicular Manslaughter: Not Guilty
Case #Pasc-50901 Ravenna Municipal Court
Vehicular Homicide, Vehicular Manslaughter, Negligent Assault
Client lost control of her vehicle, traveled left of center, and struck an oncoming vehicle head-on. The other driver died, and three of her passengers were injured. Client’s passenger was also injured in the crash. Client was indicted by a grand jury with Vehicular Homicide, Vehicular Manslaughter, four counts of Negligent Assault, Operation Without Reasonable Control and Operating Left of Center. During the jury trial, the prosecution claimed that we had no defense to the charges. Two expert witnesses from the State Patrol testified for the prosecution. We presented an expert witness who testified that a defect in the roadway was the cause of the accident. The jury found client Not Guilty on all charges except Operating Left of Center. She was given a fine of $150 plus court costs and 30 hours of community work service.
Third Offense DUI: Dismissed
Case #Hcmm-50601 Newton Falls Municipal Court
Client crashed her vehicle into a ditch. She refused the breath test. Although she had multiple prior DUI convictions, only two were within the prior six years, so the police charged her with a third offense, OVI, OVI Refusal, and Failure to Control. The OVI Refusal carried a mandatory minimum sentence of 60 days in jail if convicted. We filed a Notice to Preserve the police cruiser video and a Demand for Discovery. The police refused to give us a copy of client’s cruiser video. As a result, the prosecutor was forced to dismiss both OVI charges.
Rape & Aggravated Burglary: Conviction Overturned On Appeal
Case #Najm-79601 Portage County Common Pleas Court
Rape & Aggravated Burglary
Client allegedly entered the victim’s apartment by removing a window screen and raped her. Police claimed that his fingerprints matched those found on personal items belonging to the victim in a nearby dumpster and that his DNA was consistent with DNA found on the victim’s underwear. Client was indicted on Rape and Aggravated Burglary, both Felony 1 level charges under Ohio law. During the jury trial, the prosecution brought in an expert witness from Cuyahoga County to testify to the DNA evidence. Attorney Weisenburger cross-examined her, concluded that she was unqualified to testify as a DNA expert and objected to her testimony. Nevertheless, the trial judge allowed her testimony to stand. The jury convicted client of both charges, and he was sentenced to 10-25 years in prison on each count, to run consecutively to each other (back to back). Client appealed the convictions, and the appellate court unanimously sided with Attorney Weisenburger. They ruled that the so-called DNA expert was not qualified to render an opinion on DNA evidence and that it was an abuse of the trial judge’s discretion to allow her to testify. The judgment of the trial court was reversed. Both charges were eventually nolled (dropped). Special thanks to Attorney Michael Partlow, who handled the appeal on this matter and got the judgment overturned.
Aggravated Possession of Drugs: No Bill
Case #Qamc-31001 Stow Municipal Court & Summit County Common Pleas Court
Aggravated Possession of Drugs
Client was charged with Aggravated Possession of Fentanyl in Stow Municipal Court, a Felony of the 5th Degree. After extensive research and investigation, we determined that no offense was committed. At the Preliminary Hearing, the prosecution disagreed and insisted that this was a felony offense. We offered to plead guilty to a misdemeanor offense just to resolve the matter. The prosecutor refused our offer and proceeded to call witnesses to bind the case over for felony prosecution. Despite our argument that no offense occurred, the magistrate found probable cause that a felony had been committed, and sent the case to a Summit County Common Pleas grand jury. The grand jury sided with our defense and issued a no-bill (no indictment).
Domestic Violence: Dismissed
Case # Rbat-60601 Ravenna Municipal Court
Domestic Violence and Disorderly Conduct
As a result of a family dispute, client was charged with a Misdemeanor One Domestic Violence. He was also charged with a Misdemeanor Four Disorderly Conduct as a consequence of a police confrontation at the scene. We contended that the Domestic Violence charge did not apply and disputed the facts on the Disorderly Conduct complaint. Eventually, the Domestic Violence charge was dismissed outright, and the Disorderly Conduct charge was amended to a minor misdemeanor, with a $150 fine plus court costs.
Felony DUI above .17: Amended to Misdemeanor
Case #Kcds-71202 Summit County Common Pleas Court
Client was arrested for a Felony OVI after an eyewitness reported him operating a vehicle in a restaurant parking lot. Client was unable to perform any field sobriety tests. Officers obtained a search warrant for a blood sample and took client to a nearby hospital. Client was subsequently indicted on two counts of Felony OVI with specifications, alleging five or more prior OVI convictions and a BAC level above the enhanced .17 limit. Client was facing the possibility of a thirty-month prison sentence. We filed Motions to Strike the prior convictions based on constitutionality, and, after multiple hearings, the court ruled that several of the prior convictions were constitutionally defective, and banned the prosecution from using them. Accordingly, the prosecutor agreed to amend the charge down to a misdemeanor, second offense OVI. Client was sentenced to 5 months local jail with credit for time served, the minimum mandatory fine of $525 plus court costs, and a two-year license suspension.
Theft Charge: Dismissed
Case # Sbjj-41101 Stow Municipal Court
A local store claimed that client had stolen merchandise from them. Client was charged by the police with Theft, a misdemeanor of the First Degree after being detained at the store. We served a Notice to Preserve Audio and Video Recordings on the prosecution. After many delays, the store failed to produce the video from the incident. As a result, the charge was dismissed by the prosecution.
Felonious Assault & Endangering Children: Not Guilty
Case #Tadc-79301 Portage County Common Pleas Court
Felonious Assault and Endangering Children
Client’s child was injured in an accident at home. Children Services investigated the incident and claimed that the injuries were the result of a deliberate act. Client was indicted on two felonies, Felonious Assault and Endangering Children. After a three-day jury trial, including cross-examination of Children Services witnesses, the jury found client Not Guilty on both counts.
Grand Theft: Not Guilty
Case #Uafd-59501 Portage County Common Pleas Court
Client was hired to do work in the home of the complaining witness. At some point in time, the resident claimed that certain items were no longer in the home and blamed client. Client tried to explain the situation to the police, but the police arrested client. He was indicted for Grand Theft, a Felony of the 3rd Degree. The case proceeded to a jury trial, where the police contended that client’s statement showed his guilt, and we argued that the resident had previously disposed of the items. The jury found client Not Guilty.
DUI – .151 BAC: Reduced to Physical Control
Case#CAA-30901 Akron Municipal Court
A Client was pulled over for a Marked Lanes violation and failed the Walk & Turn test, the One Leg Stand test, and the Horizontal Gaze Nystagmus test. She was arrested and taken to the police station, where she tested .151 on an Intoxilyzer 5000 machine. The police charged her with Marked Lanes, Operating Under the Influence, and Operating with a Prohibited Alcohol Concentration. In the course of our investigation, we eventually examined, among other items. This simulator was used to calibrate the Intoxilyzer 5000 at the police station, observing condensation in the hosing of the simulator. A suppression motion was filed, resulting in the prosecutor conceding the breath test result and reducing the charge to Physical Control.
Illegal Processing Of Drugs Documents: Dismissed
Case #VATC-30801 Portage County Common Pleas Court
Illegal Processing of Drug Documents
For the better part of a year, client was under investigation by two police departments for fraudulently obtaining two prescriptions when her doctor’s office told police investigators that they only gave her one. Client attempted multiple times to explain the situation to the police, but they simply did not believe her. She tried to obtain her medical records, but the doctor’s office claimed that they “lost” her records. She was eventually indicted for a Felony Four Illegal Processing of Drug Documents. After client retained our services, we conducted a detailed investigation. We were able to obtain medical records from her physician’s office, showing transaction ID codes for TWO prescriptions, as well as office notes, indicating that client was falsely accused. After presenting the results of our investigation to the prosecution, the charge was dismissed. The prosecution declined to prosecute medical providers.
Trafficking in Cocaine: Not Guilty
Case # WAJC-69801 Portage County Common Pleas Court
Trafficking in Cocaine
Drug Task Force agents claimed that client was involved in trafficking drugs, and client was indicted for Trafficking in Cocaine, a felony. The case went to jury trial where the prosecution presented testimony by police officers, undercover agents, and informants. After three days of testimony and intensive cross-examination by Attorney Weisenburger, the jury found client Not Guilty.
DUI – .132 BAC: Dismissed
Case #ICEM-61601 Ravenna Municipal Court
Client was pulled over by a state trooper because he only had one working taillight, and he was driving on the center line repeatedly. He exhibited slurred speech, a strong odor of an alcoholic beverage on his breath, and bloodshot & glassy eyes. He refused a Portable Breath Test and passed the One Leg Stand test, but failed the Horizontal Gaze Nystagmus test as well as the Walk & Turn test. Client was then arrested and eventually tested a .132 on the breath test at the state patrol post. He was charged with Operating Under the Influence, Operating with a Prohibited Blood Alcohol Concentration, and a Tail Light violation. We obtained the cruiser video, which showed client driving on, but not over, the center line at least twice and also showed that one of his taillights was not working. On audio, the trooper could be heard telling client that these two infractions were the reason he stopped client’s vehicle. We challenged multiple aspects of the case with a motion to suppress. After pointing out to the prosecutor that neither of the two infractions claimed by the trooper was actually violations of Ohio law (it is not illegal in this jurisdiction to drive ON the centerline, and Ohio law only requires ONE tail light, not two) and therefore the trooper had no apparent reason to stop client’s vehicle, both DUI charges were dismissed. Client agreed to a minor misdemeanor violation with a fine of $150 & court costs.
Sex Offender Classification: Blocked
Case # Xbkm-40901 Ravenna Municipal Court
Sex Offender Classification
18 years-old client was accused of engaging in consensual sexual conduct with a female partner who had not yet turned 18. He entered a plea of guilty to a misdemeanor charge of Unlawful Sexual Conduct. At a later date, in an attempt to label client as a registered sex offender, the female changed her mind. She claimed that the encounter had not been consensual. We subpoenaed videotaped interviews from the police and hospital in an attempt to block the prosecution from classifying client as a sex offender, which would have required mandatory registration. The judge determined that the encounter had indeed been consensual and prohibited the prosecution from classifying client as a sexual offender.
Drug Trafficking: Dismissed
Case # Yarm-79501 Portage County Common Pleas Court
Felony Drug Trafficking
Client was indicted on a felony charge of Drug Trafficking. Police reports were provided that obviously identified the substance as a different substance than the one listed in the indictment. The case proceeded to a jury trial, and once the jury was seated and the first witness called to testify, Attorney Weisenburger moved to dismiss the charge due to the discrepancy. The judge asked the witness if he knew the difference between the substance found and the substance that client was charged with, and the witness indicated that he did. The judge ruled that the indictment was therefore defective. The prosecution then orally moved to amend the charge. Still, the judge denied their motion since jeopardy had already attached at that point. The prosecution had no choice but to dismiss the case, and the jury was discharged.
DUI Case – .237 BAC: Conviction Overturned on Appeal
Case #GCMM-71001 Stow Municipal Court
In response to an anonymous call, the police followed client into the parking lot of a fast-food restaurant. Client stated that he had pulled into the parking lot because he had had too much to drink. He was unable to perform the field sobriety tests and was arrested. At the police station, he registered a .237 in a blood-alcohol content breath test. He was cited for Operating a Vehicle Under the Influence (second offense) and Operating a Vehicle with a blood-alcohol content over the high-end .17 limit. Client was facing a mandatory minimum jail sentence of 20 days. We challenged the case with a motion to suppress, claiming that the stop violated client’s constitutional rights due to a lack of reasonable suspicion by the officer. The judge denied our motion to suppress. The case was appealed, and the Court of Appeals sided with Attorney Weisenburger and ruled that the municipal court incorrectly denied our motion to suppress. The decision was then reversed, and all charges were dismissed. Special thanks to Attorney Patricia Smith, who handled the appeal in this matter.
Felony Domestic Violence: Reduced to Disorderly Conduct
Case # ZARV-51001 Kent Municipal Court
Felony Domestic Violence
Police was called to client’s residence due to an altercation between client and his step-son. The police were called out and chose to believe the step-son. Client was charged with Felony Domestic Violence. We were retained, immediately conducted an investigation and obtained photographs and other evidence that contradicted the claim. At the Preliminary Hearing on the matter, the charge was reduced to a Minor Misdemeanor Disorderly Conduct, and client was fined $150 plus court costs.
Possession of Drugs: Not Guilty
Case # FBRT-30701 Stow Municipal Court
Possession of Drugs
Client was pulled over for a traffic infraction, and the police asked for permission to search the vehicle, which was not titled to client. Unfortunately, client consented to the search. During the search, the police allegedly found marijuana hidden in the vehicle. The police claimed that client was in constructive possession of the marijuana since he was driving the vehicle and charged him with Misdemeanor Possession. The case proceeded to a bench trial, but we were able to effectively block the officers from testifying what the substance was due to a technical violation of the discovery rules. Client was then found Not Guilty. NOTE: Our firm advises clients that they should NEVER consent to a search. This case serves as a prime example of what can happen when someone consents to such a search.
DUI – .102 BAC: Dismissed
Case #JCBS-40701 Medina Municipal Court
Client was pulled over because one of his taillights was cracked and emitting white light. His speech was slurred, he exhibited glassy, bloodshot eyes, and he failed the three standard field sobriety tests, stumbling badly and almost falling. He was arrested and taken to the police station, where he initially refused the breath test. Still, He later changed his mind, blowing a .102 on a BAC DataMaster machine. Although he had two prior DUI convictions, they were outside the six-year look-back period, so the police charged him with a first offense level Operating Under the Influence and Operating with a Prohibited Alcohol Concentration. We challenged various aspects of the case with a suppression motion. The judge accepted our argument that Ohio law only requires ONE tail light to emit a RED light, ruling that the police officer had no reasonable and articulable suspicion to justify stopping client. All charges were then dismissed.
Domestic Violence: Not Guilty
Case # GBHA-61201 Ravenna Municipal Court
After spanking his daughter with a belt and causing visible bruises, client was charged with Misdemeanor Domestic Violence. Children Services investigated and claimed that this was a violation of state law, and the police agreed. Client retained our services, and we made it clear to the prosecution that it was our position that parents have a right to discipline their children and that this client’s actions were protected. The case eventually went to trial, and the judge agreed, finding client Not Guilty.
DUI: Reduced to Reckless Operation
Case #FCSS-40101 Ravenna Municipal Court
Client was pulled over for swerving and straddling the centerline of the roadway. The police officer claimed that client had a p odor of an alcoholic beverage on his breath, was slurring his speech, and had watery & bloodshot eyes. Client submitted to the three standard field sobriety tests (Walk & Turn test, One Leg Stand test, and Horizontal Gaze Nystagmus test) during which the officer claimed that client exhibited all twenty clues for intoxication. Client was arrested and taken to the police station where he tested a .164 on a BAC DataMaster breath machine. The police charged client with Operating Under the Influence, Operating with a Prohibited Alcohol Concentration, and Driving Left of Center. After reviewing the video from the police and written reports, our investigation revealed that client had to take the breath test twice, and the testing officer failed to use a new mouthpiece for the second test. There were also numerous irregularities with all three field sobriety tests. We challenged all aspects of the case with a motion to suppress. Before the court hearing on the motion, the prosecutor dropped the Operating with a Prohibited Alcohol Concentration charge and proceeded only on the Under the Influence charge. The judge, however, agreed that all three field sobriety tests were improperly done and ordered them suppressed. Client eventually accepted the prosecutor’s offer to reduce the charge to Reckless Operation.
DUI .00 BAC: Dismissed
Case #LCDO-51201 Ravenna Municipal Court
Client was pulled over for driving 53 MPH in a 40 MPH zone. The police officer claimed that he smelled alcohol. Client refused to take a Portable Breath Test. Unfortunately, client attempted the three standard field sobriety tests and, in the officer’s opinion, botched them all. Client was arrested and taken to the police station for a breath test. On both breath tests, using an Intoxilyzer 8000 machine, client tested 0.000 (no trace of alcohol whatsoever). The police then charged him with Operating Under the Influence and Speeding. We obtained the police reports, breath test documentation, and videos from both the police cruiser and the police station. After arguments with the prosecutor, the OVI charge was dismissed outright, and client was assessed a $25 fine on the Speeding ticket.
Underage DUI – .O35 BAC: Reduced to Reckless Operation
Case #MCXH-31002 Ravenna Municipal Court
Client was a college student from a foreign country. He was pulled over by a state trooper because his rear license plate light was out. Client passed the Horizontal Gaze Nystagmus test but failed the Walk and Turn test, One Leg Stand test, and Portable Breath Test. He was arrested and taken to a nearby police department for a breath test, where he blew a .035 on a BAC DataMaster. The trooper charged him with Underage OVI (over a .020), No Rear License Plate Illumination, and a Seat Belt violation. We obtained the cruiser video, but the field sobriety tests were done off-camera, and the instructions were nearly inaudible. After extensive negotiations, the OVI charge was reduced to Reckless Operation. The other charges were dismissed, ultimately resulting in a fine of $150 & court costs, no jail time, a six-month license suspension, a Driver’s Education Class (8 hours), and allowing client to return to his home country.