The highly effective
appellate representation from Attorneys
Ian N. Friedman and
Eric C. Nemecek, led the Court of Appeals of Ohio to overturn the vehicular assault and
DUI convictions of an incarcerated young business manager. As a result
of this appellate case victory, the defendant will now be released from
prison and will have his case retried. Attorney Friedman and his team
will provide the defendant with legal representation in his next trial.
According to the case's journal entry and opinion (released and journalized
on May 29, 2014), the defendant was arrested for suspected
drunk driving in November 2012 after his vehicle struck a bicyclist. The accident victim
sustained injuries that caused him to be paralyzed from the neck down.
The defendant, who argued that he was not intoxicated at the time of the
accident, had his case heard in a bench trial in the Cuyahoga County Court
of Common Pleas.
The defendant was convicted of the following charges in June 2013: third-degree
felony vehicular assault, fourth-degree felony vehicular assault, and
first-degree misdemeanor driving under the influence. He was sentenced
to a five-year prison term, a seven-year suspension of his driver's
license, and a fine of $5,000.
The defendant, who was represented by other attorneys for his bench trial,
decided to appeal the trial court's judgment. Attorneys Friedman and
Nemecek argued that their client's previous defense lawyers were ineffective
and that the trial court had improperly allowed the admission of prejudicial
evidence in his trial—an anonymous letter that violated his Constitutional
rights. The writer of the anonymous letter claimed that the defendant
had been drinking and was intoxicated on the night of the accident.
The trial court allowed the letter to be presented in the first trial despite
the fact that the defense team objected that: 1) the letter had not been
shared with the defense prior to the trial, 2) it included hearsay and
3) the defendant's rights would be violated since his lawyers could
not cross-examine an anonymous witness. The prosecutor challenged these
objections by suggesting that the court allow the evidence to be presented
and then just avoid using it as evidence that would affect the judgment
(something made easier since the case was not being tried before a jury).
The trial judge permitted the use of the letter.
The Court of Appeals judges ruled in favor of the defendant, and noted
that they could not be certain beyond a reasonable doubt that the anonymous
letter did not end up tipping the scales toward a guilty verdict. The
judges also stated that because the defendant waived his right to a jury
trial, this did not give prosecutors the right to admit evidence that
would normally be considered inadmissible.
The Court of Appeals decided to reverse the trial court's judgment
and ordered that the defendant receive another trial. Because of the successful
appeal the defendant was released from prison. Attorney Friedman, Attorney
Nemecek, and the rest of their defense team are preparing for the man's
Our legal team is proud that Attorneys Friedman and Nemecek were able to
successfully protect this defendant's Constitutional rights. If you
are dealing with a criminal case, do not hesitate to
contact Ian N. Friedman for high-quality defense!