Our legal team is pleased to announce that our Cleveland criminal defense attorneys were recently successful in having charges dropped against our client in a high profile case. As a result of our team effort following the filing of formal charges, prosecutors decided to drop the allegations that accused a former corrections officer from the Ashtabula County Sheriff’s Department of stealing nearly $60,000 from the county jail accounts.
Due to the serious nature of these allegations and the sum of funds allegedly stolen, our client had been facing felony charges for theft and theft in office, both of which posed considerable criminal penalties and terms of imprisonment. Additionally, a conviction would have tarnished our client’s personal and professional reputation.
Our entire legal team quickly set to work on the case, utilizing the vast resources of our firm to conduct independent investigations into the circumstances surrounding the allegations and internal investigation into the officer. The break in the case came from a recent decision by the Ohio Supreme Court on the Garrity warning, which is similar to the warning law enforcement provides criminal suspects. The Garrity warning is used to inform public employees, such as our client, of their rights during an internal investigation, including their Fifth Amendment right to remain silent and not incriminate themselves.
The Garrity warning also explicitly states that investigators are prohibited from making threats of taking adverse employment actions, such as punishment or termination, against a suspect in order to obtain a statement. Upon review of the evidence, it was soon discovered that evidence in this case was obtained through threats prohibited under the Garrity warning. As such, that evidence was unconstitutional and could not provide the basis of a criminal indictment. Our firm filed a motion to dismiss the indictment due to Garrity violations.
Because evidence obtained through unlawful means was inadmissible, it crippled the prosecution’s case, and charges were ultimately dismissed. As Mr. Friedman told the Star Beacon, the evidence obtained in the case fell within the Garrity purview, and as a result “the investigation was tainted to such a degree that the prosecution could not legally go forward.”
This case dismissal was a product of our firm’s talented lawyers and their commitment to pooling resources for the benefit of our clients. Partner Eric Nemecek wrote the briefs, Attorney Eric Long handled the in-court Garrity hearing, and Partner Ian N. Friedman was able to ultimately persuade the prosecutor’s office to dismiss. Our client’s victory was based upon the team effort for which we are known.
Our firm is pleased to have secured this result for our client, as it provides the closure he needs to end this difficult chapter of his life. We also commend our legal team on their diligence in reviewing all aspects of the case, from the internal investigation to formal indictment. As a result of their tireless work ethic, they were able to spot critical departures from protocol which proved essential to winning this case. Their work can also help ensure that law enforcement and public agencies conduct themselves in accordance to established rules and standards when investigating and charging suspects with crimes.
If you or a loved one are facing criminal charges in Cleveland or the surrounding areas of Ohio, you can be confident about placing your trust in our proven legal team. Backed by decades of experience, we have cultivated a reputation as some of the most sought after defense attorneys in the nation by individuals accused of crimes and legal professionals who call on our attorneys to assist in difficult cases or educate other lawyers about the art of law and criminal defense.
During difficult times, you can find the experienced and aggressive advocacy you need by working at Friedman & Nemecek, L.L.C. We encourage you to discuss any charges you or a loved one may be facing, including charges levied against public employees, during a free and confidential case review. Contact us today for a consultation.