Over the last few months the following incidents have occurred between attorneys and the courts:
1. An attorney enters a room where the prosecutor is located for the purpose of entering into pre-trial discussions with the prosecutor. To their surprise, the judge is seated behind the prosecutor with the file in the judge’s possession, conducting the pre-trial. At the same time the judge demands the defendant’s license plates stating “anyone accused of DUI in my jurisdiction must drive with yellow plates until the case is finished.”
2. The defendant files a Motion for Extension of Time to File Pre-Trial Motions well within the time limits set forth by the criminal rules. The defendant’s motion is denied by the judge with the statement that, “Defendant had plenty of time to file his motions.”
3. After performing his due diligence and filing the appropriate motions with the court, the prosecutor offers the defendant a reduced charge of reckless driving. The prosecutor and counsel for the defendant enter the judges chamber for the purpose of obtaining the judges approval. When they enter the judges chamber they see the judge reading the police report. The judge denies the request saying he read the report and the defendant didn’t deserve the reduction.
4. The defendant files a Motion for Limited Driving Privileges pending the adjudication of the case. The attorney for the defendant receives a call from the court stating limited driving privileges will be granted only if the defendant enters into an alcohol intervention program AND puts yellow plates on his car.
I address this questions to professionals reading this blog. Are the judges in these incidents violating the defendant right to due process? They are the trier of fact (prior to a trial by jury). Should they be perusing the file and police report prior to any hearing related to pre-trial motions? Should they be sanctioning the defendant prior to any adjudication of the case?Most importantly, has Ohio’s draconian DUI laws and the public pressure being applied by special interest groups affecting the proper administration of justice?
Have you encountered incidents such as these? Have you argued regarding these or similar types of due process violations? Please email me and I will pass these experiences and arguments on to others who might be suffering under the same issues. My email address is firstname.lastname@example.org. I look forward to hearing from you.