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.
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.