Nearly 100,000 felony criminal cases are filed in Ohio courts each year.  More than 8,000 of those are in Franklin County alone.

If you or a loved one are facing a felony criminal charge in Ohio, you really need to know this information. Call the criminal lawyers at James D. Owen, LLC for a free consultation.

Reading the Ohio Felony Defense Guide will benefit you in:

  • knowing what you can reasonably expect from your attorney;
  • evaluating whether your lawyer is properly representing you;
  • understanding the full extent of your constitutional rights;
  • knowing what information your lawyer should be able to obtain and give you during pretrial discovery;
  • being able to properly evaluate all potential defenses;
  • understanding how a plea bargain works, and whether that is right for you; and 
  • knowing what to expect at trial, including all the rights you have at trial.

The consequences of not fully understanding Ohio’s criminal justice system can be horrific for both guilty and innocent people.

A good example of what can happen when you don’t understand what you are facing after being charged with a serious felony is illustrated by the case of State of Ohio v. Gary James.

Gary was arrested in December 1976 for robbing an East-side Columbus bank and killing the security guard.  Because he was innocent, Gary mistakenly thought he could just go to the police, explain that he wasn’t involved, detail where he was on the day in question, and clear up a mistaken identification.  Boy was he wrong.

Gary was brought to trial within two months after his arrest, without being provided with the tools he needed to prepare a real defense.  He was tried and convicted in February 1977. He was sentenced to death in April 1977 for a crime he did not commit.

Twenty years later, attorneys from my law firm got involved.  We began reinvestigating the case. Ultimately, with the help of many others, including a retired FBI agent, Gary was proven innocent and released from prison.  But Gary had, in the meantime, spent 26 years in prison for a crime he did not commit.  

I have often wondered whether Gary’s tragedy would have turned out differently if he and his family had understood the process so they could have known what to expect from their lawyers.  He could have looked carefully looked through the documents given in discovery. He could have been better able to assist his lawyers in preparing a defense. Perhaps he could have avoided 26 years in prison.