NLPA is often contacted by defendants and their attorneys in cases where the defendant is seemingly out of time to pursue further relief in his criminal case. The case of State of Ohio v. Keith A. Johnson demonstrates how NLPA can assist counsel in the preparation of research that can overcome seemingly insurmountable procedural obstacles in order to obtain a favorable decision upon the merits of a case.
In Mr. Johnson’s case, the Court of Appeals of Ohio found that the evidence was sufficient to support Mr. Johnson’s convictions for felonious assault and possessing weapons while under a disability. In reaching its decision, the Court of Appeals found that the key witness’s testimony was likely inaccurate. Instead, the Court focused upon Mr. Johnson’s failure to report a crime, a crime for which no charge was issued, in order to find Mr. Johnson guilty of felonious assault and illegal firearm possession. Further, the Court relied upon a scenario for the commission of the crimes that not a single witness testified actually occurred. Court of Appeals Opinion, 11/14/14 at ¶20. Not a single witness witnessed Mr. Johnson possess or discharge a firearm.
NLPA was hired to assist Mr. Johnson in pursuing relief from the decisions of the trial and appellate courts. Mr. Johnson had missed his filing deadline in the Supreme Court of Ohio. Working with Mr. Johnson’s attorney, Alex Kochanowski, NLPA assisted in the preparation of an application to re-open the appeal pursuant to Ohio Appellate Rule 26(b). The application was granted by the Court of Appeals, and on December 18, 2015, the Court of Appeals vacated its prior judgment and reversed the judgment of the trial court. Mr. Johnson will now be able to proceed to a new trial where it is hoped that the truth will serve to vindicate Mr. Johnson.
Critical to the success in Mr. Johnson’s case was NLPA’s understanding of the procedural mechanisms and rules applicable to Ohio criminal proceedings. By reviewing every available procedure under Ohio law, and matching the appropriate procedure with the issues present in Mr. Johnson’s case, NLPA was able to assist in overcoming missed filing deadlines and insuring that a conviction lacking sufficient evidentiary support did not stand.
NLPA’s efforts were greatly appreciated. If you or your client is facing evidentiary difficulties and would like NLPA’s experienced team of attorneys on your side, please contact NLPA.
The bottom line is that just because an individual misses a filing deadline does not mean that he must forego all further attempts to obtain justice. Instead, by carefully reviewing all evidence and every action that has occurred in a case, possible means of challenging an unjust conviction will often come to light. NLPA has been at the forefront of attacking unjust convictions. Should your clients find themselves in similar situations to Mr. Johnson, NLPA stands ready to assist you in the research and preparation of any motions and/or research necessary to assist you in the vigorous defense of your clients.