Please click the below link for access to the live interview on July 21st, 2011. Mr. Moorman discusses the Stacey Schuler and Marcus Israel cases with Meghan Mongillo at the ABC22/FOX45 studio in Dayton.
Dayton’s News Source :: Good Morning – Local Attorney Insight on Stacy Schuler Case: http://t.co/W4b17wi
You can also find us on our website at http://www.diehlhubbell.com!
Wednesday, July 13th, 2011
By: Gabriel Moorman
Stacy Schuler, the former Mason High School gym teacher accused of having sex with a number of her students, has entered a plea of not guilty by reason of insanity.
This often utilized and rarely successful plea is an attempt by the defense to offer a legal excuse for Ms. Schuler’s actions. While quite possibly the defendant’s best argument, the requirements for such a plea are very difficult to establish.
The defense, in effect, is not contesting whether or not the sexual conduct took place – they are only arguing that Ms. Schuler did not possess the necessary mental state or intent to commit the crime.
The trial court will order her to be evaluated, and the expert report will probably be provided in about 4-6 weeks.
Her trial is set to begin on August 8th, 2011, at the Warren County Court of Common Pleas in front of Judge Robert Peeler.
Our condolences go out to Officer Dulle and his family. What a tragic scene, in which thirty-six year old Brian Dulle was killed while performing his duties as a Warren County Police Officer. Dulle was putting out stop-sticks along the roadway on St. Rt. 42 when Marcus Israel allegedly ran into Officer Dulle at over 100 miles per hour, killing him instantly. Israel has been charged with involuntary manslaughter and failure to comply with a police officer, facing fifteen years in prison if he is convicted. At the arraignment in Lebanon Municipal Court Thursday, Israel apologized to Officer Dulle’s family. Israel is being held on a one million dollar bond. What a great loss to the community – What an irresponsible and reckless act. The suspect decided to trade a tail-light violation for a manslaughter charge.
By: Gabe Moorman, Attorney and Counselor at Law at Diehl & Hubbell, LLC
304 East Warren Street, Lebanon, OH 45036
In this issue of the Accident and Injury Reporter, Mr. Diehl answers frequently asked questions about releases. He discusses a very important Ohio Supreme Court case affecting all persons injured as a result of other persons’ negligence. And, Tom introduces you to our staff of lawyers, paralegals and administrators assisting in providing full and complete recovery for our clients injured in automobile accidents.
By: Thomas J. Diehl (In 2008) With the enactment of Senate Bill 80, damages in many tort actions are capped. The jury’s determination of rightful compensation to a Plaintiff will be disregarded in many circumstances. In any claim for damages for injury or loss to person or property, including product liability claims, a plaintiff who has suffered non-catastrophic or noneconomic damages is limited to the greater of Two Hundred Fifty Thousand Dollars ($250,000) or three times the economic loss,but not to exceed Three Hundred Fifty Thousand Dollars ($350,000). EXAMPLE NO. 1: Plaintiff is injured in a non-catastrophic motorcycle accident and incurs medical bills of Ten Thousand Dollars ($10,000) and a wage loss of Five Thousand Dollars ($5,000), for total special damages of Fifteen Thousand Dollars ($15,000). The most he can receive for his non-economic loss (i.e. pain and suffering) is Two Hundred Fifty Thousand Dollars ($250,000). 3 x $15,000 = $45,000. Plaintiff is entitled to three times economic loss or Two Hundred Fifty Thousand Dollars ($250,000), whichever is greater. EXAMPLE NO. 2: Plaintiff is injured in a non-catastrophic loss and incurs medical bills of One Hundred Thousand Dollars ($100,000) and wage loss of Twenty-Five Thousand Dollars ($25,000), for a total loss of One Hundred Twenty-Five Thousand Dollars ($125,000). If a jury awards pain and suffering of Five Hundred Thousand Dollars ($500,000), that portion of the jury verdict will be reduced to Three Hundred Fifty Thousand Dollars ($350,000), because of the cap. It seems odd that the Ohio legislature would protect drunk and reckless drivers at the expense of truly injured persons. Although the Ohio Legislature limits the recovery available to a plaintiff seriously injured in a car accident caused by a drunk driver, it has made certain that producers of corn, wheat and soybeans injured by someone speaking badly of their products are fully compensated. Ohio Rev. Code §2307.81 subjects anyone who falsely disparages an Ohio agricultural or aquacultural food product, to “in addition to any award of punitive damages, damages in an amount up to three times the amount of compensatory damages.” Thus, the Ohio Legislature has chosen to place a cap on the damages a drunk driver will pay, while it subjects those that may dare to disparage a soybean to treble damages. http://www.thomasjdiehl.com
By Marty Hubbell
The Ryan Widmer jury deliberations continue into the second day.
I was in the courthouse this morning, and saw the bathtub that the jurors must walk past to get to the jury room. I’m sure that is a sobering thought as they begin their deliberations.
Yesterday the prosecution requested that Judge Bronson read an instruction on the lessor offense of involuntary manslaughter. The defense objected, but secretly I think they welcome this option.
If the jury cannot reach a unanimous verdict on the murder charge, they then can discuss the lessor charge of involuntary manslaughter. Oftentimes, this scenario leads to what is called a compromise verdict. In my experience, when given two options, and the case is not open-and-shut, juries will choose the lessor charge as a compromise.
This has already happened in this case. In the first Widmer trial, the jury was presented with two options: aggravated murder and murder. They found him not guilty of aggravated murder but guilty of murder.
In the second trial, the jury just had to consider the murder charge. Depending on which report you believe, the jury was deadlocked 8-4 or 10-2 in favor of guilt.
Now, the jury will consider the murder charge and the lessor charge of involuntary manslaughter. I think this jury will reach a verdict, and most likely on the lower charge.
What does this mean for Ryan Widmer? On the murder charge he is facing a mandatory sentence of 15 years to life in prison. On the manslaughter charge he is facing one to five years in prison. Given that he has no prior record, the Court could consider placing him on community control (probation), with no additional jail/prison time.
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.