Tag Archives: ohio

Amish Buggy Drinking and Driving Case Ends in Flight

So… a deputy in rural Ohio noticed an Amish buggy rolling down the street, and spotted a 12-pack of Michelob Ultra on the back, so he decided to pull it over. The occupants of the buggy ran off into the woods, and authorities are still looking for them. The horses continued walking down the road, but the officer was able to safely corral them. Not only did they have a case of beer, they apparently outfitted the buggy with a bangin’ sound system and there was a case of Twisted Tea found inside, too. The buggy was taken to a neighboring farm to care for the horses and law enforcement is waiting for someone to claim them.

Mich Ultra not pictured

Yes, it is possible to get a DUI on a buggy. It is a vehicle, even though it is being pulled by horses. You can get a DUI on any vehicle, including lawnmowers, scooters, and even motorized wheelchairs. You can’t get a DUI on a horse in Florida, since it’s not a vehicle, but a buggy like this would definitely qualify under Florida law. No arrests were made, as the suspects got away. Apparently there have been several buggy DUI cases I had not been alterted to

More weirddui stories here.

Convicted Former Judge Tracie Hunter Keeps Trying to Run Again

Tracie Hunter

Former Judge Tracie Hunter

Tracie Hunter was convicted of a felony for misuse of documents while she was a judge: and subsequently removed from the bench. Her conviction was upheld on appeal, and she has a jail sentence hanging over her head unless the Ohio Supreme Court overturns the conviction. On top of that, she has been suspended from the practice of law: a requirement if she were to sit as a judge. She is further ineligible as a felon with a pending jail sentence.

In spite of all these things, she thinks she should still be a judge. She feels so strongly that she has applied to run for a judge seat in the upcoming election. She has applied not once, but twice. The first application to run as a Democrat was rejected, and she recently filed to run a second time, this time as an independent. The disqualifying factors still apply, so there’s no reason to think she’d be eligible to run. But file she has, with thousands of petitions to get on the ballot.


Tracie Hunter’s Guilty Verdict Upheld on Appeal

Tracie Hunter

 Former Judge Tracie Hunter

Former Hamilton County Judge Tracie Hunter’s verdict was upheld on appeal yesterday. The 1st District Court of Appeals in Ohio released their decision yesterday. Her attorney disagrees with the verdict, and has indicated they will be appealing to the Ohio Supreme Court.

One of the issues is that the jury was not polled after reading the verdict. Normally, after a verdict is announced in court, the jury is polled to confirm that the verdict was correctly recorded. Hunter’s attorney asked the judge to do so, but he declined, because he had previously had them make an affirmation. The jury reached a verdict on only one count, and the judge received that verdict and they continued deliberating on the other counts. When the judge got the verdict on the one count, which we later found out was ‘guilty’, he asked the jurors for an affirmation… but he never announced what the verdict was that he was having them affirm.

Now, this wouldn’t be a problem if the jurors agreed on the verdict. However, now three of them have signed affidavits that say if they had been polled at the end of the trial, their verdicts would not have been the same. That’s a problem. However, the law in Ohio apparently does not require that the verdict be published before the jury is polled. That seems counter-intuitive: how can the jury affirm the verdict if the judge hasn’t told them what he believe the verdict to be? I will be curious what the Supreme Court says, and if the appeal doesn’t work, whether there could be a post-conviction motion based on the post-trial affidavits mentioned earlier.

Some Officers are Buying Their Own Body Cams

Officer Kidder of New Richmond, Ohio, whose body cam showed his impressive restraint in not using deadly force in his confrontation with a murder suspect, was using his own body cam during the incident. It was apparently given to him by a family member. Apparently, there is a growing trend of officers wanting to have cameras to document their actions, even when the departments don’t provide it. It’s refreshing to see officers who believe in their work and are interested in honestly documenting their interactions.

Again, Crimcourts would encourage more law enforcement agencies to implement body cameras for the protection of the community, and the officers who are doing a good job. Fort Myers has started rolling them out, in spite of a short delay due to union complaints about camera policies, and Cape Coral is doing the same. Kudos to the Cities of Fort Myers and Cape Coral for taking the initiative to introduce body cameras.

Ohio Officer Doesn’t Shoot Suicidal Man

Image from Ofc. Kidder's body cam

Image from Ofc. Kidder’s body cam

Officer Jessie Kidder, of New Richmond, Ohio, deserves a medal of some sort. A double murder suspect led police on a chase, with an intent to commit suicide by cop. When he was stopped by Ofc. Kidder, he approached the officer aggressively, asking the officer to shoot him, and threatening the officer. There is no doubt that in light of the circumstances Kidder would have been justified in using deadly force to defend himself. But he demonstrated extreme restraint, and it turned out that no force was necessary, as the suspect surrendered when backup arrived.

The entire incident is documented on a body cam video. Amazingly, the camera was not provided by the department, but by Kidder himself (it was a gift from family). Had he needed to use deadly force, the video would have proven him justified. Fortunately, he was able to resolve the incident without killing the man. The video is on the WLWT website, and it is dramatic.

EDIT- New Richmond is in Ohio, not KY. Sorry.

Tracie Hunter to Avoid Jail for Now

The Ohio Supreme Court has granted former judge Tracie Hunter’s request to stay imposition of her sentence
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I’m Sorry Sir, You Are Still Dead: Law Zombifies Ohio Man

An Ohio man failed in his bid to reverse the legal declaration of his death, in spite of being very much alive. Donald Miller Jr. walked away from his life for over 20 years, and his wife had him declared dead while he was gone. Ohio has a rule that prevents overturning a declaration of death after 3 years. I understand the interest in the finality of judgments – criminal cases have an even shorter time to be challenged – but surely it doesn’t make legal sense for the law to declare something so blatantly wrong. The words, “I don’t know where that leaves you, but you’re still deceased as far as the law is concerned,” should never have to come out of a judge’s mouth, but he was compelled to say so under an arcane law.

I am not aware of a similar provision in Florida, but there is a case that says a declaration of death by one court may not preclude a finding otherwise in a different court! Great Southern Life Ins. Co. v. Pocoro, 869 So.2d 585 (Fla 4th DCA 2004). But, since he was declared dead in Ohio, Mr. Miller is legally a zombie. He’s undead: walking around, but legally dead. Just in time for Halloween!

Ohio Prosecutor Convicted for Dereliction of Duty

Former assistant prosecutor from Butler County, Ohio, Jason Phillabaum, was convicted of negligently failing to perform his lawful duty to review the charging documents in a grand jury case. More serious charges stemming from allegedly trying to get a clerk to change those grand jury documents were dropped in the plea deal, thus avoiding the risk fo being convicted of a felony at trial. He will serve probation for these charges, and was previously fired from his prosecutor’s job.

It’s a sad state of affairs when out public officials violate our trust, especially when it’s those whose job it is to enforce the laws. Sadly, they can also succumb to human weaknesses. We cannot assume that trustworthiness of people just because they work for the government, and we need to be vigilant in watching those who watch over us.



The 10 worst cops in the Country, from Jalopnik: http://jalopnik.com/5980525/the-ten-worst-traffic-cops-in-the-us Ohio is the big winner, and they specifically mention New Rome, but some of the small towns outside of Cincinnati are similarly notorious. I’m disappointed Cape Coral, FL didn’t make the … Continue reading

Don’t ask a judge permission to smoke a joint – Things not to do

Damaine Mitchell was in court for a charge of trafficking in marijuana when he made his ridiculous request of Judge Melba Marsh.  He wanted to smoke a joint before entering a treatment program that would avoid jail, and even keep a conviction off his record.  He also engaged in a negotiation with the judge for a date to stop smoking.  Marijuana is still illegal in Ohio, and 48 other states, and it’s crazy to think a judge is going to sanction it.  This guy is looking a gift horse in the mouth.

I was also shocked to learn that trafficking in marijuana has a maximum sentence of only 1.5 years in Ohio.  In Florida, mere possession of 20 grams (that’s less than an ounce, for our uninitiated) can subject someone to up to 5 years in prison.  Trafficking in marijuana has a minimum sentence of 3 years, and up to 30 (though I suspect Florida has a higher threshold to reach trafficking).  Thanks to @drewmagary for posting on this.  #thingsnottodo