Successful Appeals With Oral Argument Videos
State v. Castagnola
During a search pursuant to a warrant, the police seized the defendant’s computer, and subsequently found child pornography on it. He was convicted and his conviction affirmed on appeal. I argued the warrant didn’t permit the seizure of the computer. The Ohio Supreme Court agreed, and reversed the conviction. Watch oral argument here.
State v. Thomas
The defendant was convicted in 2014 of rape committed in 1993, and sentenced in accordance with the law in effect at the time of the crime, a maximum of 28 years. On appeal to the Ohio Supreme Court, the court held that the defendant was entitled to be sentenced under the law passed in 2011, which provided for a maximum of 14 years. The judge imposed the 14 years, but on a further appeal I got that reduced to 11 years. Watch oral argument here.
State v. Jones
In this case, the defendant was prosecuted for a rape committed twenty years earlier. His mother, a key witness, had died a year before he was charged. The Ohio Supreme Court agreed with me that I didn’t have to show what the mother would have testified to. Watch oral argument here.
State v. Walker
The defendant had been convicted of aggravated murder in a bar shooting. The Ohio Supreme Court agreed that the State hadn’t proved prior calculation and design, and reduced the conviction to murder. Watch oral argument here.
Appeal Success Stories
State v. Clark
Clark had served 23 years of a life sentence for killing his wife. He’d always claimed that the shooting occurred when the wife grabbed a gun out of his hand. The wife had spent over two hours in the hospital before dying. I got the medical records, and found that the prosecutor had removed seven pages of them, all of which indicated that the wife had said that the gunshot was self-inflicted, before turning them over to defense counsel and the jury. The murder conviction was vacated and the defendant was released.
State v. Weimer
The defendant was convicted of aggravated murder, aggravated burglary, and Ohio’s corrupt practices activity act, as well as several other offenses, and sentenced to 44 years to life in prison. I argued that the only evidence of the defendant’s presence on the scene came from a jailhouse “snitch” whose testimony had been admitted in violation of the hearsay rule. The court of appeals agreed, and reversed the case and remanded it for a new trial.
State v. Pawlak
The defendant was charged with 30 counts of child molestation involving five pre-teen girls. He was convicted of only two counts, but that resulted in a 10 years to life sentence. The court of appeals agreed with me that the lawyer had been ineffective for not objecting to testimony about the defendant’s conduct with older teen-age girls. The defendant’s conviction was reversed, and he pled to a lesser charge with a total incarceration of one year.
State v. Caldwell
The defendant was charged with molesting his daughter on over twenty occasions, but the daughter had serious credibility issues. On the second day of trial, the State offered to let Caldwell plead to two third degree felonies. The judge refused to accept the plea offer, however, and the trial proceeded, with the jury ultimately convicting the defendant of two counts, which carried sentences of 25 to life. Normally, a judge has full discretion as to whether to accept a plea, but I persuaded the court of appeals that the judge had abused his discretion in this case. The conviction was reversed, Caldwell pled to the two third degree felonies, and was sentenced to time served.
State v. McCully
Defendant’s conviction and 25-year sentence for aggravated robbery vacated; court agreed that trial judge had erred in not providing a full written copy of the jury instructions. Of interest is that I was retained on the case two days before the brief was due; the assigned lawyer filed the brief anyway, and didn’t even raise the issue I eventually won the case on.
Successful Appeals With Subsequent Successful Trials
State v. Gannelli
The defendant was convicted of telephone harassment and sentenced to six months in jail. I got him an appeal bond, then argued on appeal that the detective had improperly testified about the defendant’s prior conviction. The court of appeals reversed and remanded the case. I tried the case on the remand, and obtained a full acquittal.
State v. Oldham
The defendant was convicted of felonious assault with a gun, and sentenced to six years in prison. I argued on appeal that the prosecutor had engaged in misconduct during the closing argument. The court of appeals reversed and remanded the case for a new trial. I tried the case, and the defendant was convicted of misdemeanor assault and freed, as he had fully served the sentence for a misdemeanor.
State v. Litten
The defendant was charged with nine counts of drug possession and trafficking, with firearm specifications. He represented himself at trial, was convicted of all counts, and sentenced to 16 years in prison. I successfully argued that the judge hadn’t complied with the law regarding a defendant representing himself, and the court of appeals reversed. On the remand, I argued that the search had been unconstitutional, and got the trial court to throw out the evidence in eight of the nine counts. The State dismissed the last count on the day of trial, and the defendant walked out of court a free man.
Successful Post-Conviction Relief
State v. McCoy
The defendant was convicted of gross sexual imposition of a twelve-year-old, and sentenced to 10 years to life in prison. I persuaded the trial judge in post-conviction relief that the lawyer had been grossly ineffective. The judge vacated the defendant’s conviction, he pled to the reduced charge, and was sentenced to time served.