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.
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: 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
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.