A 25 year old Columbus woman will be walking free from the Ohio Reformatory for Women soon as an appeals court recently overturned her conviction for a string of thefts and the death of a mall shopper back in 2005 according to the Columbus Dispatch. One of her codefendants may have a similar outcome soon though three more will likely have to serve out their sentences.
In June of 2005, the defendant and three friends are said to have stolen a car from a family member and went on a shoplifting spree in the Springfield Upper Valley Mall. As they were fleeing the mall a 49 year old man attempted to stop their vehicle. He was killed.
All four women were tried for the murder charge three times, not being convicted until 2009. It was precisely these three trials that eventually led to the defendant winning her appeal and ultimately being released from the sentence.
According to the Appeals Court judge, the third trial violated the women’s protection against “double jeopardy”, or being tried for the same offense twice. Protection against double jeopardy is a Constitutional right and one that protects people, for instance, from being tried again and again for an offense they’ve received a legitimate acquittal from.
This defendant should be released within the upcoming days, though the state can appeal the case and potentially send her back to prison if they win. Her codefendants may or may not be so lucky.
One of the other women is fighting an appeal on the basis of double jeopardy as well. The other two, however, gave up their right to appeal based on double jeopardy in their plea agreements, something that may ultimately keep them locked up despite their friends being freed.
While Constitutional violations are frequently the basis of criminal appeals, they can also be brought up at trial and even before. If the police violate your right to protection against illegal searches and seizures, for example, the evidence they seized can be thrown out. Similarly, if they question you and fail to inform you of your right to an attorney—your testimony during the interrogation may be inadmissible in court.
These rights are designed to protect you, the accused, while you go through the criminal process. As defense attorneys, it’s our job to ensure these rights are protected at every stage of the game. And when they aren’t—go to bat to ensure your interests are served.
If you’re facing criminal charges in Ohio, you don’t want to wait for an appeal to clear your good name—you want to prevent a conviction altogether. Contact us today for a free consultation on your case.