Many individuals choose to represent themselves in a divorce or dissolution case. Oftentimes, in very simple matters, this is not a terrible decision. However, a recent case demonstrates the potential negative consequences of not having qualified counsel.
In this recent case, Husband and Wife dissolved their marriage in 2003. The parties agreed on all matters, including a provision on how to divide Husband’s pension. The pension was to be divided pursuant to an Order that was filed with the Court.
Wife’s lawyer prepared the Order, as Husband was not represented by an attorney. The problem was that the Order was inconsistent with the parties’ agreement, and Wife received a larger portion of the pension than she was entitled to.
Husband filed a motion with the Court to correct this error. Ultimately, his motion was denied because certain language was not included in the original agreement with his Wife, language that would have permitted his motion to go forward. Without this language, Husband needed to appeal his case within 30 days from the filing of the Order. There would have been little reason for him to do so, as he would not have known there was an error within the 30 day timeframe. Pension divisions often take many months before they are processed by the plan administrator.
Qualified Domestic Relations Orders, the Order used to divide retirement benefits, can be very complicated documents, filled with legalese. The original agreement needed to have language giving the Court jurisdiction to correct errors in the pension Order. Since it did not, Husband is stuck with the error, and Wife will continue to receive the additional benefits.
 Pearl v. Pearl, 2012-Ohio-4752.
Marty Hubbell is a partner in the law firm of Diehl & Hubbell, LLC (www.DiehlHubbell.com), and has been practicing domestic relations law in Warren County, Ohio since 2001. He was recently named an Ohio Super Lawyer for the third time, and has been named to the Top 40 Under 40 list. He is also a part-time Magistrate for the City of Lebanon, Ohio. He can be reached at (513) 932-2121 or MHubbell@DiehlHubbell.com
Congrats, Marty! Named one of Ohio’s top lawyers.
Lawyers are asked to nominate the best attorneys who are 40 or under. They are instructed to nominate lawyers they have personally observed in action – whether as opposing counsel or co-counsel, or through other firsthand courtroom observation.
In addition to the general survey, the attorney-led research team reviews the credentials of potential candidates and assigns points based on a set of defined evaluation criteria. The research staff also confirms that nominees are properly licensed, in good standing with the state licensing agency, and, when possible, that they have no history of disciplinary action that would warrant removal from the list.
The point totals from the general survey and research process are then added to arrive at a final tally. The lawyers are ranked by point totals and those with the highest point totals are named to the Rising Stars list. No more than 2.5 percent of the lawyers in the state are named to the list. To ensure a diverse and well-balanced list, the research staff considers factors such as firm size, practice area and geographic location.
We at Diehl & Hubbell, LLC are proud of Mr. Hubbell and would like to thank him for his years of dedicated service to the Southwest Ohio community!
You can find Mr. Hubbell at 304 East Warren Street, Lebanon, Ohio, 45036 #513.932.2121
By Marty Hubbell
I get asked that at least once a month. All attorneys have heard from potential clients who want to hire a Bulldog to represent them. Why? Because they erroneously believe that such lawyers are effective advocates for their clients.
Some people are generally unreasonable and unpleasant; some of these people happen to be lawyers. It is not hard to find them, as they are usually preceded by reputation.
These Bulldog lawyers have an inability to arrive at appropriate results in a timely fashion. They don’t return phone calls, are unprepared for hearings, and are unable to competently identify key issues in a case. But they are wonderful at turning legal cases into personal vendettas, when doing so has no practical purpose. Legal fees tend to get expensive, quickly, when fighting about anything and everything.
A Bulldog lawyer does not intimidate a competent attorney. I tell my clients in advance about the other attorney’s reputation, in order to prepare them. No party to litigation truly enjoys the experience, and you have to wonder about the unnecessary emotional cost their clients pay.
Judges and juries do not appreciate Bulldog lawyers. Court time is valuable and dockets are crowded. Recent studies suggest that jurors are particularly sensitive to choosing sides in a trial based upon a Judge’s rulings and demeanor toward individual attorneys. If an attorney argues ten points of law, when only two are viable, the stain of the poor arguments can filter down to the good ones.
There is so much more to being an effective advocate than just being adversarial. Be cautious when a lawyer brags about being tough and aggressive. A competitive spirit should not be confused with a combative personality. The qualities you should demand in a lawyer are no different than those you would want from other people in your life: diligence, competence, honesty, and reasonableness.
Marty Hubbell is a partner in the law firm of Diehl & Hubbell, LLC (www.DiehlHubbell.com), and has been practicing criminal defense law in Warren County, Ohio for ten years. He has been named an Ohio Super Lawyer, and is a part-time Magistrate for the City of Lebanon, Ohio. He can be reached at (513) 932-2121 or MHubbell@DiehlHubbell.com
By Marty Hubbell
What’s next in the Ryan Widmer case? Expect the defense to file a motion for a new trial in the next few days. This motion must be filed within 14 days of the verdict that was rendered on February 15, 2011.
This motion is critical for Widmer’s case, and is separate from the appeal of his actual murder conviction. His appeal would be to the 12th District Court of Appeals in Middletown, Ohio; the motion for a new trial would be heard by Judge Bronson in the Warren County Common Pleas Court. The appeal will not be filed until the upcoming motion is resolved in the trial court.
Why is this motion for a new trial important? The 12th District Court of Appeals is probably the most conservative appellate court in the State of Ohio; less criminal convictions are overturned in this court than in any other appellate district. If he cannot persuade Judge Bronson to grant him a new trial, it is likely that the next significant hearing for Ryan Widmer will occur in about 14.5 years, at his first parole hearing.
The defense attorneys are scrambling to find any and all evidence they can to support the motion. From the press releases thus far, it appears that they are going to try to argue some form of juror misconduct.
By: Marty Hubbell
Ryan Widmer’s third trial for the murder of his wife, Sarah, is scheduled to begin on Tuesday, January 18, 2011, in the Warren County Common Pleas Court in Lebanon, Ohio. Judge Bronson is again presiding.
The first trial ended in a conviction that was overturned due to juror misconduct. The jury in the second trial was unable to reach a unanimous verdict, which resulted in a mistrial.
I am often asked my opinion on this case. I’ve spoken to folks on both sides; each is passionate one way or the other. I am not. I have paid close attention to this case, but I have not seen all of the evidence or heard all of the witnesses. From those I have spoken to in the legal community, most believe reasonable doubt exists.
So why has the overwhelming majority of jurors believed that Ryan Widmer is guilty of murdering his wife? I do have an opinion on that: I just don’t think he’s likeable.
Before the second trial, jurors were brought in to determine if they could serve for an extended period of time. I happened to be at the courthouse, for other cases. In front of Judge Bronson’s courtroom, I saw Ryan Widmer laughing and joking around with a friend. This went on for awhile, in full view of the potential jurors.
I also sat in on portions of the first two trials. I observed Ryan Widmer’s behavior, demeanor, and reaction to witness testimony. He left me with the impression that he was a bit snarky.
So what does this have to do with the Widmer case? Like it or not, defendants are on trial the minute they pull into the court parking lot. It was clear the possible jurors recognized Ryan Widmer. They knew they were there to potentially serve as jurors in a case, where he is accused of killing his wife. In other words, they were there to address a serious matter; he was there goofing around.
I have no idea what this third jury will do. But it would certainly behoove Ryan Widmer to act more appropriately.
|January 10, 2010 http://www.western-star.com/news/lebanon-oh-press-releases/view-press-release/?p=15052
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:
Waynesville native Marty Hubbell has been named a partner in the law firm of Diehl & Hubbell, LLC located in Lebanon, Ohio.
Marty is a graduate of Waynesville High School, the University of Texas, and the University of Dayton School of Law. He has practiced law in Warren County for ten years, focusing in the areas of personal injury, domestic relations, civil litigation, and criminal defense.
Thomas J. Diehl is the managing partner of Diehl & Hubbell, LLC. Mr. Diehl has practiced law in Ohio for over 20 years, and focuses his practice on representing persons injured in serious motor vehicle accidents.
The firm represents clients in all parts of Southwest Ohio, including Warren, Butler, Montgomery, Clinton, Clermont, Greene, and Hamilton Counties.