The trial of Marcus Israel, the man who is alleged to have killed Officer Brian Dulle, starts today in the Warren County Court of Common Pleas. Israel is accused of running over and killing Officer Brian Dulle with a car while attempting to evade police officers. Officer Dulle was in the process of laying out stop sticks on the road when he was hit. Israel’s attorney filed a Motion for Change of Venue in an attempt to transfer the case elsewhere. This motion was denied. Judge Flannery will preside.
Check out “It Ain’t Over Yet”, by Thomas J. Diehl. Mr. Diehl discusses tactics to combat the Ohio Supreme Court’s decision in Robinson v. Bates.
Ohio Attorneys, Diehl and Hubbell, LLC. A law firm in Southwest, Ohio, since 1988. We handle personal injury, criminal law, domestic relations, worker’s compensation, and civil litigation. We practice in all areas of Ohio including Warren, Greene, Montgomery, Clermont, Hamilton, and Highland counties, as well as Dayton, Cincinnati, Lebanon, Mason, Beavercreek, Kettering, Centerville, Waynesville, Ohio. Give us a call today and let us put our resources to work for you.
By Marty Hubbell
Closing arguments ended today in Ryan Widmer’s third trial for the murder of his wife. This was the attorneys’ opportunity to tell the jury what they believed the evidence showed throughout the case. The jury will be instructed that the arguments of counsel are not to be considered as evidence.
After closing arguments the judge read the jury instructions and the jurors entered the jury room for deliberations. All of the exhibits will accompany them, together with the verdict forms.
Some thoughts on the Widmer case:
1. Truth really is stranger than fiction. This case has a lead detective who lied on his police application, a surprise witness that used to work in an Iowa strip joint, a third murder trial, and a married female witness who flew in from Seattle to support the defendant. And, of course, an expert who worked on the Kennedy assassination and testified at the O.J. Simpson murder trial.
2. The State’s surprise witness, Jennifer Crew, testified that Ryan Widmer confessed the murder to her. This witness walked into court with quite a bit of baggage. But the State had to call her as a witness, as a confession will certainly make jurors’ ears perk up.
That being said, her credibility is in question based upon her prior criminal record and past life choices. I spoke to multiple people in the courtroom during her testimony, and they gave her testimony a grade from lukewarm to good.
3. I think the defense team doesn’t expect a NOT GUILTY verdict. They would like one, but such a finding will be even more difficult after the confession testimony from Jennifer Crew. Keep in mind, in the two previous trials, depending on which version you believe, either 22/24 or 20/24 jurors have voted GUILTY at the end of the day.
My guess is the defense would be tickled pink to have another hung jury.
4. People ask me whether Ryan Widmer should testify. The answer: hell no. Rest assured that throughout the three trials Ryan has been prepped and coached to testify, just in case. My guess is that he has done very poorly in these practice examinations.
5. One of the confusing parts of the Law is reconciling guilt with proof. It is entirely possible that a person can be guilty of an offense, but the State lacks the ability to prove guilt beyond a reasonable doubt.
When would this happen? All the time. This morning I drove to the airport with almost no traffic on the road. A portion of I-71 near downtown Cincinnati has a 55 m.p.h. speed limit. I sped. Although I am technically guilty of this offense, without additional evidence the State would never be able to prove my guilt beyond a reasonable doubt (even with my admission!).
A defendant is presumed innocent of a crime. The State carries the burden to prove guilt beyond a reasonable doubt. If that burden is not met, it is a juror’s duty to sign the NOT GUILTY verdict form. Suspicion or ‘probably did it’ does not suffice.
6. freeryanwidmer.com was a website created to assist Ryan Widmer in the defense of his case. This is also the website used by the State’s surprise witness, Jennifer Crew, to get in touch with Ryan. The only real new evidence in this third trial is her testimony. If convicted, how ironic would it be that the group formed to raise money for Ryan Widmer assisted in his ultimate conviction?
By: Gabe Moorman
I have been asked by Meghan Mongillo, Dayton’s Fox-45 “In the Morning” co-anchor, to be a guest on their live TV broadcast. I will be answering questions regarding the law and commenting on some of the high profile legal cases in Southwest Ohio. Specifically, we will be discussing the Ryan Widmer and Stacy Shuler cases.
The Widmer trial is approaching its final stage, as the attorneys for both sides will offer their closing arguments on Monday, February 14, 2011. The jury will then begin its deliberation and a verdict will be read by the bailiff at the Warren County Court of Common Pleas in Lebanon, Ohio. It is likely that people from across the country will be listening intently – as will I.
The Shuler trial has not yet started, but interest in the case has been very high from the start. Ms. Shuler was recently indicted on nineteen felony counts of sexual battery along with three misdemeanor counts. She stands accused of having sexual contact with five Mason High School students, most of them believed to be on the football team. Shuler, who recently resigned as a physical education teacher and athletic trainer, has been released and is currently living with her parents pending her trial. Stacy Shuler has been ordered to wear an electronic monitoring device and have no contact with any of the alleged victims or any minors.
I am excited to join Ms. Mongillo at the Fox-45 studio in Dayton and hope to share some interesting and informative perspectives. Please tune in from 7:00 to 9:00 AM.
By: Tom Diehl (in 2008)
Representing the injured party in a personal injury claim is a difficult juggling act for the practitioner. The experienced litigator is well aware of the traps involved in even the simplest personal injury case, including issues like subrogation, medical liens and tort reform. The practice is fraught with land mines.
It just got a lot tougher. On December 20, 2006, the Ohio Supreme Court rendered a decision dealing with the collateral source rule. Robinson v. Bates (2006), 112 Ohio St. 3d 17. This decision is being used by insurance companies to try to decrease jury awards and settlements.
Pryor v. Webber (1970), 23 Ohio State 2d 104 was the leading case invoking the collateral source rule. The rule provides, basically, that evidence of a plaintiff’s receipt of benefits from a source other than the wrongdoer cannot be presented to a jury. Thus, if the plaintiff had his medical bills paid by health insurance, or med pay, or even by his kind uncle, the fact that those payments occurred could not be presented to a jury.
Robinson v. Bates affects the collateral source rule. In Robinson, one of Plaintiff’s medical bills was paid in part by Plaintiff’s health insurance and the balance was “written off” by the provider, leaving the balance as fully paid. The Plaintiff tried to introduce the full bill. The Defendant argued that only the “paid amount” should be presented to the jury. The Ohio Supreme Court, breaking with years of contra authority, declared that the original bill and the evidence of the write off could be presented to the jury. Expect insurance companies to seize upon this decision to try to further whittle settlements and jury awards.
But all is not lost. The practitioner is not without options and argument to counterattack Robinson. We intend to raise several arguments and use different tactics in these cases, including:
1. Making the defense prove the existence of the write off. This will be more difficult for the defense than might be expected as it will require testimony from the medical practitioners and, potentially, the health insurance carriers.
2. Reminding the trial court via Motions in Limine that the write off amount does not represent full payments as many health insurance plans utilize “hold backs” and “bonus payments.”
3. Reminding the Court that Robinson does not modify the collateral source rule. It merely changes what is and is not a collateral source.
At Thomas J. Diehl & Co., LLC, we have been handling personal injury claims in Southwest Ohio since 1988. We regularly work with counsel in ethical fee sharing arrangements. Thomas J. Diehl is a Fellow of the Litigation Counsel of America and a member of the Million Dollar Advocates Forum.